ZipCar, Osborne Clarke, Airbnb and Tech City amongst founding members of Sharing Economy UK
Friday 6th March 2015, London: Sharing Economy UK (‘SEUK’), a new trade body set up to represent and champion the UK’s sharing economy businesses, will be launched today by Matthew Hancock, the Business, Enterprise and Energy Minister. The body has 21 founding members from across all sharing sectors, including ZipCar, Osborne Clarke, Airbnb and Tech City.
The launch of SEUK follows last year’s independent review, commissioned by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, ‘Unlocking the UK’s Sharing Economy’, which assessed how the UK could, and should, become a global centre for the sharing economy. Today’s launch follows the report’s recommendation that UK sharing economy businesses come together to form a trade body to act as a single voice and set a kitemark for industry best practice. Debbie Wosskow, founder of Love Home Swap and author of the independent review, will Chair the body for the first year, in a role that will change hands annually.
SEUK is a trade body set up to represent these ‘sharing’ businesses, which encourage consumers and businesses to share and utilise their assets, such as cars and homes. It is a voluntary member group that will seek to champion the sector, ensure best practice and act as a single voice for the industry. As well as signing up to a Code of Conduct - and working together to develop a kitemark for responsible sharing practice – an annual conference will be arranged, and research will be published into matters around sharing economy businesses, corporates and consumers.
The SEUK Board is made up of: Debbie Wosskow (Love Home Swap), Andrew Saul (Osborne Clarke), Patrick Robinson (Airbnb), Matthew McStravick (Echo) and Alex Depledge (Hassle.com).
Debbie Wosskow, founder of Love Home Swap and Chair of Sharing Economy UK, said: “It was clear following the launch of the report that sharing economy businesses were overwhelmingly supportive of the idea of a trade body. The UK has all the tools to become the global home to sharing economy businesses, but to date our industry has been missing that one body to champion the sector. Today’s launch is an important step and I look forward to working with all members over the next twelve months, and beyond.”
Andrew Saul, Senior Partner, Osborne Clarke and Deputy Chair of Sharing Economy UK, commented: “While connected consumers have been quick to see the benefits of home sharing or car-pooling, matters of insurance, regulation and tax continue to be a challenge for sharing economy businesses. Osborne Clarke has long supported the sharing economy community across Europe and the US and is currently advising many businesses on how to match their innovative business models with existing regulation. We’re excited to be supporting SEUK, tackling legal and regulatory issues to work on practical solutions for this booming industry.”
Business Minister, Matthew Hancock, said: “Last year Debbie Wosskow wrote a groundbreaking review that put up in lights the exciting opportunities of the UK’s sharing economy. She drew up a list of policies and practices that will prove a shot in the arm to help these innovative young businesses grow.
"I applaud her foresight and am delighted to support the new Sharing Economy UK - the strong voice for sharing economy businesses, big and small, giving consumers more choice and advancing this new frontier of online businesses."
The founding members of SEUK are as follows:
Airbnb, Appear Here, Bla Bla Car, Compare and Share, easyCar Club, Echo, Hassle.com, Liftshare, Love Home Swap, Nimber, One Fine Stay, Task Rabbit, ZipCar.
The members will be advised by organisations looking to understand, work with and support the sector:
Coadec, Institute of Directors, Nesta, Osborne Clarke, OuiShare, PwC, Tech City and Tech UK
About Sharing Economy UK
Sharing Economy UK (‘SEUK’) is the trade body representing and championing the UK’s sharing economy businesses. Launched in March 2015, SEUK is a voluntary member trade association with 21 founding members from across the spectrum of sharing economy sectors.
The aims of SEUK are to:
- Champion the sector – making the UK the global home of the sharing economy
- Ensure best practice – establishing a kitemark for responsible sharing practices for both businesses and consumers
- Act as a single voice – recognising the shared challenges facing member businesses and developing innovative responses
SEUK was set-up following the launch of a Government-commissioned independent review, entitled ‘Unlocking the UK’s Sharing Economy’, which was written by Debbie Wosskow, founder of Love Home Swap, in November 2014.
About Osborne Clarke
Osborne Clarke is the law firm of choice for sharing economy businesses, both in Europe and the US. It has 600 lawyers in 18 international offices providing clients with consistently high standards of service and commercial cross-border legal advice tailored to their industry. Our discrete national firms combine the very best of OC with an understanding of the local business environment and in-depth legal expertise in each jurisdiction.
Andrew Saul is Osborne Clarke’s senior partner. See more information here.