“Storemates leads the Sharing Economy to a more Inclusive Future”



On the 26th February 2015 Storemates, with partners The People Who Share brought together some of the most innovative movers and shakers of the sharing economy with public services, businesses, think tanks, charities and community organisations to solve a unique problem facing the new movement: How can ‘Excluded and poorer communities benefit from the new sharing boom?’


Attracting over 50 active organisations, delegates of this ground breaking summit held at Westminster City Hall were asked to find unique solutions to what many now feel is a movement at risk of being dominated by mainly white, affluent and educated members.


Shaff Prabatani, Co-founder of Storemates, with over 20 years experience working with excluded communities set delegates the task of developing new ideas and business models that would increase participation for all regardless of back ground or class.  He asked how could we could add more ‘Caring’ to the ‘Sharing’ so those with less could also benefit more.

Benita Matofska, Chief Sharer at ‘The People who Share’ outlined the fantastic progress the sharing movement has made. Storemates, Just Park, Love Home Swap and Airbnb have changed the online landscape by helping people to rent out their underused assets peer to peer, to others, rather than encouraging us to buy more.  This has meant big savings and extra cash for nearly 2 million households in the UK.  People Who Share believes that the sharing economy is already worth £9bn a year globally and could increase to an astonishing £230bn by 2025.  


However Benita also pointed to the challenges faced by organisations like Airbnb as they struggled to tackle discrimination within its marketplace, whilst many sharing economy ventures were used mainly by educated, tech savvy users with access to a range of very ‘rentable’ assets.


Speakers included Share The World’s Resources, who provided an overview of the global issues of sharing. Through inspiring presentations the event show cased the innovative work of organisations like GoodGym, Liftshare and FoodCycle - all of whom are reaching out to socially and geographically isolated older people and the unemployed.


Want to see highlights or missed the event....get a flavour here.

The summit challenged sharing economy businesses and community partners to work together and recognise their unique position in being able to alleviate poverty through the better use of existing resources. This will result in a new pledge that Storemates will encourage its fellow sharing partners to make, where all sign-ups will be asked to proactively commit to at least one initiative that widens participation to those currently not benefiting from sharing economy. It is hoped that this pledge will lead to a new ‘sharing, caring economy.’ 


Shaff Prabatani, Co-founder of Storemates commented on the event.

“We know lots of older people have untapped storage space in their garages, spare rooms and attics, many are missing out from the benefits of sharing. We need to be creative in how we make our services more accessible to them, and more reassuring in ways that helps build trust as they may have more concerns around allowing strangers in their home.”

Sharing ideas have the potential of solving many complex social problems. For example by just using commercial storage in London we could free up more land  for further housing as 8,590,000 sq ft is currently  taken up by commercial storage units. In fact providing 500 lofts used for storage rental would prevent the need to build one self storage warehouse on precious land, while generating an additional income to those on low pensions.

So just imagine what else we could solve if we all put our heads together – business, government, think tanks and charities to name just a few."


"It was so refreshing to be at a sharing economy event that focused on the real social value of sharing. I was inspired to learn about other fantastic examples – Goodgym – who motivate runners to meet their fitness goals by getting them to run to socially isolated pensioners, or organise group runs that incorporate physical voluntary work too!

We all share the challenge of finding effective ways to help everyone rather than just the early adopters of our services. Liftshare.com wants to solve transport poverty and we will fail our mission if we don’t manage to reach into all excluded communities. The event gave me renewed energy and ideas on how we can do more."

Ali Clabburn, Founder of Liftshare commented on the event.


Remember you can get involved too as this is the sharing economy! Watch this space and we will keep you updated!