Government urged to regulate sharing economy

By Melodie Michel contact

- Last updated on GMT

The government is conducting a review of the sharing economy in order to regulate it
The government is conducting a review of the sharing economy in order to regulate it

Related tags: Entrepreneurship, Investment

Pop-up marketplace Grub Club is urging the government to better regulate ‘sharing economy’ businesses like itself in order to ensure their protection.

The start-up, which is in the last week of its crowdfunding campaign​ to expand its services, has been asked to sit on two government boards: one aiming to drive policies around the sharing economy, and the other to provide support for entrepreneurs.

In her role on the sharing economy board – led by the Prime Minister’s office, Grub Club co-founder Olivia Sibony will vouch for better insurance to protect chefs and diners in pop-ups and soup kitchens, as well as the creation of a body dedicated to businesses of the type.

“We also need better support for people starting out in this area. The fact that we are struggling to cope with demand shows that there is clearly something there that the government needs to provide support for,” she told BigHospitality.

Simpler processes

On the entrepreneur board, which will be held tomorrow and held by David Miliband’s office, she will push for a simplification of the paperwork required to set up businesses.

“There are a lot of a lot of complex and archaic administrative processes. It’s very convoluted and it is very difficult for entrepreneurs and self-employed people to navigate it. You end up having to pay huge fines because you’ve completed the wrong paperwork or you haven’t authorised the right person to do the right thing,” she pointed out, adding that existing tax relief systems such as the (Seed) Enterprise Investment Scheme are already a great step in the right direction.

Growth area

Grub Club was approached by the government in its review of the sharing economy, having been involved in a number of focus groups – most noticeably government-funded ‘innovation charity’ Nesta.

“The government is realising that this is a huge area of growth, and therefore wants to look at it. They’ve earmarked food as one of the main areas of growth to bring in legislation to protect the consumer and support businesses to do it on a more scalable and established basis,” Sibony pointed out.

Grub Club hit £185,000 of investment on its Crowdcube page this morning, and the co-founder is confident that the firm will reach its £250,000 target by next Monday (24 November).

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