Committee Examines Rise of Peer-to-Peer Businesses and Their Ability to Create Jobs in a Changing Economy

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Washington, Jan 15 | comments
The Small Business Committee, led by Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO), today held a hearing examining the rise of peer-to-peer (P2P) businesses and their evolving role in economic growth, innovation and job creation.

A P2P business creates a platform which acts as a conduit between buyers and sellers or entrepreneurs and consumers. Forbes estimated in 2013 that revenue from the so-called sharing economy was likely to surpass $3.5 billion.

While the economic effects are still being analyzed, it appears clear that the P2P business model is shifting parts of the economy while reducing barriers to entry into the marketplace for individuals. In a volatile economy, where unemployment remains high, P2P businesses are further adding jobs by generating a new source of income for individuals. This new and distinctive business model, and its ability to create or advance the development of microentrepreneurs and small businesses, exhibits growth potential and merits further examination.

“P2P businesses show exciting potential for job creation and economic growth, and it’s important that innovative ways of doing business are not stifled by regulation,” said Chairman Graves. “Jobs are still scarce in this economy, and it is encouraging to see the development of new marketplace opportunities. These technology-based platforms are connecting businesses and individuals like never before, and entrepreneurs are learning how to use these links to market their skills, products and services in new ways. Today’s testimony provides an important backdrop for a continued examination of the growing P2P marketplace and its economic impact.”

Materials from the hearing are available on the Committee’s website HERE. 

Notable Quotes:

Dr. Arun Sundararajan, Professor and NEC Faculty Fellow, NYU Stern and NYU CUSP, New York University, New York, NY, said, “The current regulatory infrastructure can impede the growth of these businesses, in part because of misalignment between newer peer-to-peer business models/roles and older guidelines developed to mitigate safety concerns and economic externalities for the existing ways of providing the same or similar services.”

Beth Stevens, Assistant General Counsel, Sidecar Technologies, Inc., San Francisco, CA, said, “This technology-led sharing economy, of which shared transportation is just one segment, is growing rapidly, and, despite general economic slow-down in other sectors, the United States is poised to become a global leader in this enterprise.”

Alan Mond, CEO, 1000 Tools, Inc., Ann Arbor, MI, said, “This new generation of collaborative consumers and microentrepreneurs live in an ecosystem called the sharing economy, and it has crossed the chasm into mainstream adoption.”

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