8 sharing economy services that could make it in the Arab world

by Aline Mayard, June 24, 2013

Books, houses, cars, washing machine, food, knowledge… it seems that you can lend, rent, or share anything these days thanks to the number of new collaborative consumption startups that are launching.

Yet sharing depends on the culture, the economy and the technology of each country. So what works in Europe could fail in the U.S., and what works in the U.S. could fail in the Arab world. Here are 8 startups that could be hits in the Middle East and North Africa, however:


Taskrabbit enables you to find someone to help you for any task: deliver food, move heavy things, pick your grocery shopping up, send a parcel, fix your AC and more.

 In the Arab world, it can be difficult to get small tasks done unless you know the right people. With a lack of classified ad sites in some markets (except for Morocco and Dubai), and a lack of online supermarkets, this might be a hit. (although delivery and concierge services are increasing). 


Eworky lists places where you can work: business centers, coworking spaces, offices to share, meeting rooms. 

Having access to a peaceful, affordable place with a good internet is not easy in the Arab world. This service could be of a great help for entrepreneurs traveling or living in the region, especially if it linked entrepreneurs and mobile works to the growing number of co-working spaces in the region.


Snapgoods helps you lend and borrow things: household items, cameras, kitchenware, musical instruments and so on. 

When money is tight, buying a drill to use it only once a year may seem a bit absurd. While neighbors often fill that role in the Arab world, it might be nice to have a second option than making a call or paying for a technician. 


ShareYourMeal and Cookening enable people to ask their neighbors to cook them meals or, if they're abroad, to eat at, and with, locals. 

This type of sharing economy startup could have great traction with expatriates and travelers who hope to sample a homemade Moroccan tajine, Lebanese tabouleh or Egyptian koushari, while connecting with local families. 


Skillshare helps you learn skills from individuals. 

You can take classes from teachers all around the world like webdesign, cooking, or playing an instrument, that you might not be able to afford or learn where you live. If you're looking to learn a niche skill and living in a rural area, this platform would help. 


LendingClub connects you with people who you can borrow money from. 

In the Arab world, this could be a great way to boost small scale entrepreneurship or the creation of new non-profits, provided trust is established. 


Lamachineduvoisin (literally: the neighbors’ washing machine) puts members in contact with people to share a washing machine.

La Machine du Voisin is a great way to have a better machine for less. This could also apply to many home appliances that are seldom in use, and would especially help out when residents are renting unfurnished apartments or trying to save money.


Fon, an 8 year-old service, lets people share a bit of their home WiFi so that all members can access WiFi anywhere. 

In many Arab countries, where internet penetration is low, this could dramatically lower the price and thus the barrier to access. Could Fon be the solution?


While these ideas have yet to reach the Arab world, others have already launched in the region and are gaining traction, especially in the investment space; Eureeca has launched an Arab version of YouFunder and other equity crowdfunding platforms, while Zoomal launched an Arab crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter or IndieGogo


What do you think- would you use these platforms?

--

Aline is French Editor at Wamda. After having worked as the Online Marketing and Community Manager at French startup Buzzcar, she moved to the Middle East. She writes about traveling and culture in the Middle East on her blog Yallabye.eu. You can follow her on Twitter  @aline_myd, connect with her on LinkedIn, or reach her at aline[at]wamda[dot]com.

 
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