Learning from the global sharing economy

How can global businesses learn from the sharing economy? Fiona Murchie speaks to one woman who is leading the way.

Benita Matofska, author of Generation Share

Benita Matofska, author of "Generation Share"

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This article is taken from the latest issue of Relocate magazine – the must read for HR, global managers and relocation professionals.
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Following a successful career in television production, Benita Matofska took the leap into the charity sector as head of global entrepreneurship for Enterprise UK, an organisation on a mission to inspire and equip young people, to have ideas and make them happen.She ended up sharing a platform with Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Bob Geldof at the One World Congress in 2010. It was there that she had her epiphany: sharing. What the world needed to do was share. She quit her job and began to pursue the sharing path, which is driven by the concept that, “what’s wrong with the world is there’s a shortage of sharing.” She explains, “We can fix that. If we find a way to unleash our unlimited power to share and collaborate, there’s no end to what we can achieve.”

The power of sharing

That is the same conclusion I reached having heard Benita address a conference at Kent Business School at the beginning of the year. Now, she sees herself as a change-maker and her beautifully illustrated book, Generation Share, is testament to sharing activities around the world. This book will inspire individuals and organisations to take a lead from the sharing economy, in all its guises, and to start to make a difference.My hope is that the international business community will be inspired by some of the stories told on projects, which range from food distribution to climate change initiatives, collaborative knowledge sharing and community access to digitalisation, manufacture and repair.Spring Issue 2020 out nowOn 6 March we celebrated International Women’s Day at our Think Women event and were inspired by speakers and the engaged contributions from the businesswomen attending. Reflecting on our own stories and experiences, we also generated a drive, energy and sense of purpose to maximise the potential for women and girls around the world. The time and space to reflect on what is important and to consider big questions in a safe non-judgemental environment was invaluable.

How Generation Share can help you

If you want to engage with your team and don’t think you have the funding, then look for the inspiration from people who have generated successful projects with little or no resources. If climate change and sustainability are on the agenda and you don’t know where to start, then take the lead from very small projects like some of those described here. If you need to support Millennials or energise your diversity and inclusion initiatives, take heart from the human warmth that has brought change. If you need funding, explore the new wave of options across crowdfunding.We know about the disruptive success of organisations such as Airbnb and Deliveroo. The serviced apartment sector has benefited from the exposure and unleashed its own innovations benefiting the global community.At the time of writing, coronavirus is forcing employees to work from home and suspend business travel. Now is the time to engage with your employees in a meaningful way and to build on collaboration and virtual reach to find solutions to big problems and small ones which will draw on reserves of innovation.

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Generation Share takes readers on a journey around the globe to meet the people who are changing and saving lives by building a sharing economy. How can the global mobility community rise to the challenge and use its considerable knowledge and expertise to make a difference?

Inspirational projects

Here are a few stories from Generation Share that resonated with me, but there are more than 129 stories in the book with fantastic photographs, which will strike a different chord with each reader.

The milk sharers

Dr Natalie Shenker is 39 years old and with co-founder Gillian Weaver established Hearts Milk Bank, the first human breast milk bank in the UK.Jessie Hollet is 31 years old and from the UK; she has two children – 8-month-old baby Austin and 3-year-old Isaac – and shares her breast milk.Silke Durm is 42 years old and from Germany; she volunteers at the milk bank. She believes her son Felix owes his life to the sharing of breast milk.

The Fab cafe

Barbara Andreatta is 34 years old and from Italy. She runs the FabCafe in Barcelona, an open space where people can access digital fabrication tools, such as 3D printers and bring their digital data to life. FabCafe Barcelona is part of a global network that started in Taipei, Taiwan in 2013.

Beam: crowdfunding for the future

Alex Stephany is 36 years old and the founder of Beam, the world’s first crowdfunding platform that raises funds for employment training for homeless people.Guy is 34 years old and from London. Locked into a life of hard drug use and homelessness, he was introduced to Beam and completed a crowdfunding campaign to train as an electrician.
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