February 4th, 2016
I was really enthused last year when the UK Government stated that they wanted the UK to be a leader in the sharing economy which is great news for Borroclub and other similar businesses.
However, I was compelled to write this blog after reading an article written on www.techcitynews.com entitled “London’s opportunity to become the Sharing Economy Capital of the world” You can read the full article here. Whilst this is great news for the UK and continues to put us on the world sharing economy map, I think it is important to highlight other areas just as much as London.
All too often Britains second city, Birmingham, gets overlooked yet right here in Birmingham, where Borroclub is based, we have a great number of sharing economy businesses all doing some really cool stuff to support their local community.
Here is a hit list of whats going on here in Birmingham:
Impact Hub Birmingham is part Innovation Lab, part business incubator, and part community centre. They offer members a unique ecosystem of resources, inspiration, and collaboration opportunities. It is a great space and community where ideas are shared.
Northfield Eco-Centre offers practical and inspiring ideas and advice on how to green up your lifestyle, home or business, whatever the size and budget. They run a wide range of services, activities, and events across a variety of themes. These include energy saving, home energy makeovers, organic gardening, sustainable transport, tree planting, recycling, real nappies and much more. Their building is packed full of energy saving, environmentally friendly features, one of which is a bicycle sharing scheme giving the local community access to their fleet of bicycles.
Co-wheels Birmingham is part of the Co-wheels network of community-led car clubs. Their members can drive low-emission, well-maintained cars without the hassle and cost of owning, insuring and maintaining their own. Since launching in Birmingham in 2013, they now have over 70 members, with pay-as-you go vehicles ready for immediate hire in Bournville, Cotteridge Park, Stirchley and Kings Heath and they plan to add more locations and cars soon.
They are committed to helping their members save money, reduce car ownership and create a cleaner environment for the city. For example, one car club car can replace 20 privately owned vehicles and their members drive fewer miles and make healthier transport choices. Initiatives likes this also support people who cannot afford to buy a car by enabling them the freedom and affordability of pay-as-you-go pricing.
This is a scheme operated by Birmingham City Council (BCC) whose aims are to make cycling an everyday way to travel in Birmingham over the next 20 years. They want 5% of all trips in the city to be made by bike by 2023 and to double this again to 10% by 2033. This will help to make our city healthier, greener, safer and less congested.
As part of their initiative BCC has developed a cycle loan and hire scheme to make it easier for people to get started. It is supported by the Big Birmingham Bikes programme the Birmingham Cycle Rewards app.
Moseley & Kings Heath Shed, offers facilities to both men and women, where they can share the tools and resources they need to work on projects at their own pace and in a safe, friendly and inclusive venue. It is a place of skill-sharing and informal learning, of individual pursuits and community projects, of purpose, achievement and social interaction. It is also a place of leisure where people choose to come together to work on their own, shared, or broader community projects.
So As you can see we have quite a bit going on, this list is by no means exhaustive and there are lots more initiatives happening in our wonderful city.
I recently learned that a delegation of sharing businesses organised by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) are due to visit to San Francisco but sadly all of the participating businesses are mainly based in the South of England, with no representation from the Midlands and North, what a shame.
Its true Sharing economy organisations are fragmented at the moment and it would be beneficial to have greater consolidation and partnerships. This will take time but what we can do straight away, is give a voice to ALL sharing organisations across the country. I have only listed what I know here in Birmingham but it would be great to hear from other sharing organisations across the UK.
Please get in touch with other initiatives you know of across the country. I would be happy to tweet and share like crazy.
Let’s get the UK sharing.