In 2016 sharing is most definitely caring – and if you don't believe me - ask Uber, Airbnb or Parkatmyhouse.
The concept of share economy has recently shot into the stratosphere and has taken a shape of billion-dollar companies, that do not even own any of the assets, which they offer to their customers. This business model has become incredibly popular, as it creates a win-win situation, allowing the private owners to create some additional income by renting out their spare room/their car/their parking space to private customers, who would have otherwise had to pay a much higher rate.
A broken bicycle at an abandoned bike sharing station in Rome
While the peer-to-peer sharing companies have taken off relatively well across the US and most European countries and beyond, not everyone has taken the plunge.
Italy, for example, has been relatively slow in adjusting to the innovative way of doing business and there are a few reasons for that.
As Beatrice Faleri mentions is her article "Sharing but not really caring", the major problems that p2p rent companies face in Italy, and particularly in Rome, are the inherent "lack of respect for other people's property", powerful lobbies seeking to avoid new competitors and a conservative government, which has a tight grip over such public services, as public transport, making it difficult for the likes of Uber to gain a firm foothold there, while Airbnb faces strong opposition from the owners of the local hotels.
Peer-to-peer companies that fare slightly better are the ones that have sprung up locally. For instance, a local startup from Rome – Sharewood (https://gosharewood.com/en), which lets private owners of sports equipment rent it out to action-orientated adventure seekers that come to Italy, has been growing at a very steady rate.
I believe there two possible explanations for that: One – this niche has no local competition, nor is it heavily regulated by the government, which allows Sharewood to charge ahead unopposed. The second – it's the fact that it is an Italian brand, and not a large multi-national from abroad, that allows GoSharewood to operate in a comparatively hassle-free environment and not worry about being shut down.
Or perhaps I am being far too cynical, and the success of Sharewood is signalling a major change in the hearts and minds of the Italians, who are becoming increasingly more accepting of the p2p businesses overall. Let's wait and see!
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