Napoleon Bonaparte once dismissed the English as a nation of shopkeepers (“L’Angleterre est une nation de boutiquiers”). Of course, events subsequently proved the English to be on the winning side of this debate. Fast-forward to the 21st century, and it seems that the UK continues to tap into its entrepreneurial spirit as it evolves from a nation of shopkeepers into a nation of sharing economy entrepreneurs: people who are making money from the assets and skills they already have.
In a recently released report commissioned by the UK government, Debbie Wosskow – the CEO of the travel club LoveHomeSwap and a serial entrepreneur herself – describes the current UK sharing economy and makes recommendations to her government regarding its future. Her big picture advice: “Consumers must be protected, and trust must be strengthened in online transactions. However, a degree of caution should not stop us from embracing the potential sharing offers for a new, more efficient and more flexible economy.”
For its part, the UK Government welcomed the report “and the ambition it shows.” It plans to respond to the report’s recommendations early in 2015.
The Internet Association welcomes the Wosskow report, in particular its optimistic and open-minded approach to the sharing economy, which has fundamentally changed the way we travel and where we stay for the better. As Matthew Hancock, MP observes in the report’s introduction “Where other countries are closing down consumer choice, and limiting people’s freedom to make better use of their possessions, we are embracing it.”
The nation of shopkeepers lives on(line).