Government review calls for start-up incubator to support UK’s sharing economy

DBIS report includes over 30 recommendations on how UK can become “global centre” for online sharing

A start-up incubator for online sharing platforms needs to be introduced to support the UK’s sharing economy, according to an independent review launched today by Love Home Swap’s Debbie Wosskow.

The report titled Unlocking the Sharing Economy was commissioned by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (DBIS) and makes over 30 recommendations as to how Britain can “build a nation of everyday entrepreneurs”, and become a “global centre” for the sharing economy.

On the back of findings that global revenues in the sharing economy could rise to £230bn in 2025, the review used evidence from over 1,000 to form the basis of its recommendations which range from a “sharing economy trade body” to carpooling.

A key recommendation is for the launch of an ‘Innovation Lab’ which would operate as a start-up incubator for sharing platforms and would be backed by private investment and supported by Nesta and Innovate UK.

The review said that the incubator would support sharing economy services through targeted financing, collaboration with cities and local areas, and would also support research into the impact of sharing models on the public.

Other recommendations include introducing services to help the elderly get online and a tax guide from the HMRC and HM Treasury on the sharing economy along with an online tax calculator.

It’s expected that the government will respond to the recommendations early next year.

Love Home Swap CEO Wosskow who headed up the report, commented:

“The Sharing Economy is one of tremendous growth, both in the UK and around the world, and today’s report seeks to examine both the social and economic potential of these new businesses. From car-pooling to shared office space, the sharing economy sector is undoubtedly coming of age and we hope that today’s recommendations will allow the UK Government to both fully embrace and correctly regulate this space, as there is a great opportunity here for the UK to be at the forefront of the global sharing economy.”

Business minister Hancock added: “We will back the innovators, challengers and agitators nationwide who are tearing up traditional business models and creating new jobs across the country.”

Richard Branson has also backed the review:

“We’ve been studying the trends around the sharing economy trend for some time now and we welcome moves from policy-makers to better understand the space. Regulation will play an important role in the coming year and it’s great to see UK Government asking the question of what types of regulation can best protect consumers, while also encouraging and supporting the entrepreneurs seeking to challenge the status quo.”

Read the independent review in full here.

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