RentMyItems Founding Member Of UK Share Co.

Companies from across the new “Sharing Economy” are set to work together in their industry’s collective interest by forming the UK Sharing Coalition – UKShareCo – a representative body to highlight the increasing importance of this fast-growing sector to UK GDP.

Using services like RentMyItems, Sooqini, GoCarShare and OpenPlay consumers can hire out their services, skills or household items and property to peers who can now rent, borrow or gift, rather than own, the things they need.  UKShareCo brings together some of the sector’s leading names to drive awareness of its importance, to make the case for effective regulation, and to establish a trust infrastructure that spans the entire ecosystem, helping consumers and service providers benefit from a single rating no matter what the site.

“We want to make everyone in the UK aware of what can be gained from using our members’ services,” said Raj Singh, CEO of skills-hiring service Sooqini, who will serve as UKShareCo’s inaugural chairperson for a six-month term before the role rotates amongst its membership. “Opinion Research, commissioned by The People Who Share for their State of the Sharing Economy Report series, states this people-led revolution is contributing £22.4 billion to the UK economy, which is 1.3% of GDP, and predicted to rise to 15% within 5 years.” (Original research here)

64% of UK adults, or 32.4 million, now participate in The Sharing Economy.
The State of the Sharing Economy 2013 Report, The People Who Share

In the US, Sharing Economy services such as Airbnb and Uber have been challenged by legislative action from incumbent hotel and taxi groups alarmed by the rising threat from people-powered service sharing. Similar issues have been raised in Berlin and Paris. Through UKShareCo, British counterparts can avoid similar action, Singh said:

“The US marketplace is relatively fragmented. We want to make the UK the easiest and best place in the world to share. With one voice, we will proactively and positively demonstrate that, allowed to flourish, the Sharing Economy is helping individuals to save money and make money, reducing our throwaway consumption culture and adds up to great news for the wider economy.”

Central to UKShareCo’s operation will be ensuring both kinds of users of Sharing Economy companies - service vendors and end customers alike, can be certain of each other’s trustworthiness. All UKShareCo members will display the UKShareCo logo on their website to assure customers of their professionalism and adherence to a code of conduct. UKShareCo is also instigating tailored insurance for its members, adding a further level of trust and confidence for their users.  Also in discussion is a Deposit Protection Scheme for those member companies who require deposits to be taken as part of the rental/sharing process.

"We are delighted to be a founding member of UKShareCo. These are exciting times for the UK Sharing Economy and companies such as RentMyItems are ideally placed to contribute to this new coalition to promote this burgeoning industry in the UK. Industry members’ involvement on the current Sharing Economy Review by the Government, as part of the Challenger Business Programme, highlights the impact that the Sharing Economy is already making in the UK.  It is clear that an organisation that champions this industry can only be beneficial to Sharing Economy businesses, consumers and the wider society."  Warren Heal, Founder - RentMyItems.

The UK Government has taken an active interest in promoting the UK as a leader in the Sharing Economy. At the Conservative Party Conference in September Matthew Hancock, Business and Enterprise Minister, announced an ambition to transform the UK into the “global centre” for the sharing economy. “There’s huge economic potential for the sharing economy and I want to make sure that the UK is front and centre of that.  By backing the sharing economy we’re backing the innovators, the competitors and the agitators. We’re making sure that Britain is at the forefront of progress and by future proofing our economy we’re helping to protect the next generation.”