The Sharing Economy and a trip to Number 10.

28 Jan 2014

The Sharing Economy has been experiencing a surge of growth over the last couple of years. Currently there are around 7000 companies operating in the sharing economy space, with 1000 of these companies based in the UK. It’s expected that over $350 billion transactions will soon be taking place a year through the Sharing Economy as businesses in every sector are looking to collaborative consumption, changing the consumer landscape and disrupting the status quo.

Recognising its importance and wishing to show their support, alongside encouring others to show theirs too, The Government invited a selection of pioneers within this sector to join them at The Sharing Economy Event at Number 10. Amongst those in attendance were the CEOs of One Fine Stay, HouseTrip, Park at My House, Home Swap and Head of Policy for Air Bnb, all amazing businesses making waves in this area.

Working in groups we tried to highlight key issues for our businesses and how the Government could help. Popular topics looked at an increase in tax relief for those renting out anything as part of the sharing economy, relaxing of planning legislation (especially for secondary use of vacant space) and working with insurance providers to make the process of getting insurance simpler for consumers.

Collaborative consumption works by utilizing previously ignored or unnoticed value in our assets, by both eliminating waste and generating demand for goods and services that are otherwise idle. For instance, Appear Here takes an otherwise ignored asset, that empty shop, and connects it to creative and innovative brands and entrepreneurs - essentially anyone who want to make something happen in that space! We believe that access trumps ownership and thats why we are giving more and more people the opportunity to access prime retail locations.

A great example of this is a studio space we found in Chelsea. The landlord had left this space empty for a number of years, but it was becoming a burden. We asked if we could list it on Appear Here and within a couple of weeks the space has booked up by five different tenants. Flash forward a year, the space is still fully occupied and the landlord is achieving above market rent for the property overall, while a wide range of tenants have the opportunity to showcase their ideas in an otherwise unaffordable location.

Being invited along to Downing Street to take part in this event, marked a exciting step forward for Appear Here and our model of collaborative consumption. I left excited, not just because I'd had a snoop around the PM's house, but by the positive attitudes I'd encounterd during the day. With the right support for both businesses and their communities the Sharing Economy has potential to do great things. Businesses operating in this sector need to be empowering their users to grow, and make their visions happen. As Lord Green reminded us in his closing statement, “Enterprise is about an attitude to life.”

Ross Bailey, Appear Here, CEO & Founder.

Number 10