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Collaborative economy and new business models’ challenges: from promoting innovation and sustainable entrepreneurship to protecting consumers and workers


10 Sep 2018


Public Affairs


Collaborative economy services have been the forerunners of innovative entrepreneurship and new business models, and most of the times these occur through collaborative, online platforms. New digital business models and services hold the potential of several opportunities. This entails increasing productivity, but new business models are also expected to drive sustainable entrepreneurship, innovation and transformation, as the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) require entrepreneurship and innovation to foster transitions to future-fit societies, that build on values such as responsibility and justice and that no longer destroy the ecological foundations on which they depend.

However, collaborative economy has also created tensions between the new service providers and existing market operators. In addition, Europe is not yet reaping the full benefits of digitalization and of the economic rewards that the sharing economy may offer. What are the main obstacles? and what  can we do to unlock them?

In the EU, regulatory divergence and market fragmentation in digital fields are seen as major impediments to growth and business development as evidenced by the European Commission's 2016 Communication "A European agenda for the collaborative economy". The European Commission is looking at how we can encourage the development of new and innovative services, and the temporary use of assets, while ensuring adequate consumer and social protection.But the challenge is not thin, given the very nature of these new business models and the sharing/collaborative economies. Not only is it fast-moving, digital transformation, which makes it close to try to hit a moving target,  but the sharing/collaborative economies also touch upon a number of areas, such as taxation, labour market laws and regulations, that are national competencies. The key is thus to strike the difficult balance between much-needed clarity and ensuring a level-playing field, without thwarting the development of the European sharing economy. This was also addressed in the  European Parliament’s report on a European Agenda for the collaborative economy, approved by a large majority of the House on the 15th of June 2017.

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), which recently unveiled a report on business models of the future, and UEAPME  are delighted to invite you to a lively panel discussions to discuss the main features of these new business models, the opportunities but also their limits, and how policymakers can support innovation while also protecting consumers, workers and communities.


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