The collaborative economy in Brussels has a bright future
The collaborative economy in Brussels is resolutely diverse. In just a few years, a myriad of initiatives placing the collaborative economy at the centre of their business model have emerged: platforms for hiring tools, bikes, cars and even professional kitchens. Discover another way of looking at the economy, from the neighbourhood level… to the European Union.
Why not share your skills, your time and your existing possessions, in exchange for something you want?
The basic concept of the collaborative economy is simple: it involves the voluntary and shared provision of resources, in a move towards an inter-citizen consumption model, generally overseen by a company that brings together providers and seekers.
On 27 November 2019, 15 prospective and existing platforms from all over Europe were pitched and faced questions during the closing event of the EU-GIVE project.
EU-GIVE, a European pilot project to support the collaborative economy.
Funded by the European Union, on the initiative of the European Parliament, the EU-GIVE project (Generating opportunities from Intangible assets and Value chains in the collaborative Economy in Europe”) is a pilot scheme that has lasted 2 years.
Its goal? To raise awareness of the potential of the collaborative economy among European businesses, and help them anticipate and adapt to the ramifications of this form of economy.
The project has brought together the skills of 6 European regions and countries: Slovenia, Estonia, central Portugal, the Aragon region in Spain, the region of Sicily in Italy and the Brussels-Capital Region in Belgium.
As the Brussels business support agency, hub.brussels has contributed to the EU-GIVE project via Enterprise Europe Network Brussels, a network that provides free support to help European businesses innovate and expand internationally. And, as Camille Lepinay, an advisor for Enterprise Europe Network Brussels at hub.brussels explains:
This pilot project has enabled us to gain experience, in order to tailor our services to a new audience: entrepreneurs in the collaborative economy. As well as showcasing the diversity of the collaborative economy, EU-GIVE has helped put Brussels on the map in this field.
The Brussels-based collaborative economy initiatives inspiring Europe
Through the EU-GIVE project, we have benefitted from quality coaching in finance, management and accountancy, which has enabled us to become one of Europe’s leading kitchen sharing platforms.
The EU-GIVE project has enabled us to get to know the entrepreneurial landscape in other European cities. Our goal is for the USITOO concept to be replicated elsewhere in Europe: it is one of very few offering a zero waste delivery service!
Brussels in the top 3 finalists
Over the course of two years, the EEB team has mentored 15 collaborative economy platforms, both existing and under development. Billy Bike, Cobea, Communa, Coop It Easy, Cookwork, FitMyNest, Fruit&Collect, Growfunding, Listminut, Mamé Noka Coffee Roaster, Oh Chef!, Orybany, Pwiic, Usitoo and Wibee.
Of these, Usitoo and Cookwork were chosen to represent the Brussels region on the European stage, as part of the EU-GIVE project.
The Brussels-based platform Usitoo was awardedsecond prize in the pitch competition, which took place during the project closing event in Brussels on 27 November 2019.
The 3 prizes were awarded on the basis of the opinion of investors (80%) and the public (20%) on how likely they would be to invest in the platforms. The winning projects were announced by Isabelle Grippa, CEO of hub.brussels, in the presence of the European Commission.
Usitoo, the first environmentally responsible rental platform.
Usitoo offers an innovative platform for hiring objects you only use occasionally, such as gardening, DIY, camping and events equipment. With items available to reserve online for delivery to a site close to where they’re needed, the platform represents a move towards a zero waste system. Usitoo aims to become a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider for other cities in the European Union hoping to introduce a similar system.
The platform has also received a “Seal of Excellence” from the European Commission, a quality label awarded to projects that meet the excellence criteria of the European SME Instrument, but have not been awarded funding due to insufficient budgets. SME Instrument offers funding and coaching to innovative SMEs with potential for European development. And, as Camille Lepinay stresses:
This European seal of excellence, awarded to SMEs at the cutting edge of innovation in Europe, is an acknowledgement of the quality of Usitoo’s funding application.
Cookwork, the first “Airbnb” for professional kitchens
The Cookwork platform connects SMEs, chefs, startups and large companies in the hospitality industry, by offering a system for renting fully-equipped kitchens.
Via EU-GIVE, Cookwork has tested an outline created by the European Commission, which aims to help entrepreneurs to consider their platform from the point of view of its users.
On video: other collaborative economy initiatives in Brussels.
There is no lack of collaborative economy initiatives in Brussels! Shared and modular housing, occupation of empty buildings, democratisation of digital communication, sheltered workshops, discover them in images.