The Ones to Watch: Benita Matofska, founder, People Who Share

BusinessZone
Dan Martin
Former editor
BusinessZone.co.uk
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Name: Benita Matofska
Company: People Who Share
Established: January 2011
Website: www.thepeoplewhoshare.com
Twitter: @peoplewhoshare @benitamatofska
 
1. Describe your business in one sentence
People Who Share is a media company for the new sustainable ‘sharing services’ sector -- catalysing the Sharing Economy by building an eBay style global marketplace of sharing.

2. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
I get my best ideas whilst walking the dog! I wanted to create a social enterprise that would fundamentally change the way we think, live and do business, through sharing we can do this. I noticed that there were businesses popping up in this new sector yet there was no media company to house it all – no ‘sharing central’ that’s the gap People Who Share fills.

3. What have been your key challenges so far and how have you overcome them?
The key challenge is a social one; we’ve been living in a ME based culture where individuality rules; the People Who Share values are based on collaboration and community – a WE based culture, a Sharing Economy. Some of these concepts are hard for people to grasp, yet sharing is something we are already familiar with. To overcome this, we produce events and services that show how much fun sharing can be – plus it’s cheap and green too.

4. How have you funded your start-up?
We are currently entirely self funded. People who embrace the sharing concept have offered their services and their time because they want to be part of this innovative and transformational social enterprise. In the next phase we are focusing on raising capital for the business in order to have the big scale social impact we want to have. We’re creating a global social brand, we’ll be market leaders in this emerging sector.

5. How do you market your business? 
We use all the free technology and social media platforms available to us – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn…etc. We are wired to share and part of our mission is to convert online sharing into sharing in the community. Imagine Facebook in the real world.

6. What are your plans for the future?
Our vision is for a world of People Who Share, we are building a global marketplace to facilitate and enable this; bringing together businesses and initiatives in the sector from car sharing to peer-to-peer rental, timebanking and freecycling. Ultimately, the technology we use will connect sharers in their communities and in their streets, creating strong sustainable communities who know that all we need is to share since everything you need is usually right on your doorstep.

7. What advice would you give to entrepreneurs based on your business experience so far?
Pursue the things that you believe in and that make you happy; building a social business isn’t easy, but don’t give up until you realise your vision. Social entrepreneurs are the future.

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