On the 10th of January in the Sunday Times, Kiki Loizou wrote about Borroclub.co.uk founded by Matt Dredger: “Ventures such as Matt Dredger’s rental website Borroclub have led experts to proclaim a new entrepreneurial age for Britain”.
She described him stumbling across unused tools and appliances in his garage and dreaming up a website that allowed him to lease them to neighbours. He explained: “A few years ago there was nowhere someone like me could go to work on a business while learning from other people. There was no one-stop shop for people starting up who needed advice on things like finance or IT”.
Matt used £9,000 of his savings to start Borroclub in Birmingham last year. His venture lets users lease anything, from golf clubs to marquees, from locals instead of buying the kit at a much higher cost.
When listing items online at Borroclub.co.uk, the lender sets the price per day, plus a security deposit. When the item is returned and its condition is confirmed, the deposit is returned. Both the lender and the borrower can decide whether the item is to be handed over at their home, or if they prefer, Borroclub can collect and deliver it. He notes: “In the past couple of weeks, our borrowers have saved over £1,300 and in the process, over 300kg of CO2 has also been saved”.
In August, Karen Leach wrote on the LWM blog, “I was happy to discover Borroclub, a good example of a sharing economy initiative, last week whilst looking for a large gazebo for my mother’s Significant Birthday picnic. Despite it being a very new venture, they even actually had a gazebo listed already – so I’m convinced this enterprise has legs….”
Other items featured on Borroclub include a sewing machine that would cost £52 to buy, but can be loaned for £5 per day, a jet washer and a hedger trimmer, both with original values of £130, but can be rented for £5 per day. A roof box with an original value of £270 can be loaned for only £2 per day, while a tent with a value of £600 can be borrowed for £5 per day. Other popular items include folding beds, pet carry cages, life jackets, an air compressor and lawn scarifier.
Borroclub is especially useful for those living in apartments and homes with no garages and limited storage space. It enables people to engage with their community in a practical, helpful and mutually beneficial way. Lenders often give guidance to borrowers on how to use an item.
Innovation Birmingham Campus (Birmingham Science Park Aston, now wholly owned by Birmingham City Council) launched Borroclub as part of its Entrepreneurs for the Future programme, which provides business incubation to tech start-ups. The benefits include up to nine months free office space, telecoms, meeting rooms and superfast broadband. In addition, there is continued mentoring from the Entrepreneurs in Residence, regular visiting expert sessions, a series of workshops and events, networking opportunities and peer-to-peer support.
All this support comes free of charge; Innovation Birmingham does not take an equity stake in the start-up businesses, as enrolment onto the Entrepreneurs for the Future programme is part-funded by a grant from the European Regional Development Fund, which – aiming to strengthen economic and social cohesion in the European Union – invests in innovation and research, the digital agenda, support for small and medium-sized enterprises and the low-carbon economy.