what social challenge would you like to address?

Everyone knows someone who would like to open their own shop or start their own business. However, there can be a lot of different reasons why a new entrepreneur doesn’t start his or her own business. In some of these cases, people who want to be entrepreneurs remain ‘hidden’ in what we choose to call the ‘dark’ economy. They work on their crafts or hobbies at home and maybe only dream about opening their own shop someday. Of course, this kind of hidden entrepreneurship does not contribute to the local economy.

SpareSpace wants to find the hidden entrepreneurs who, for the most part, work in the so-called dark economy. Our organization helps people who have specific plans to start their own business to become actual entrepreneurs. In doing so, SpareSpace improves the livability of towns and city centers. Our concept contributes to the local economy of towns and cities and the stores of new entrepreneurs inspire other potential entrepreneurs to start their own business.

SpareSpace already opened 23 shops in the Province of Friesland and Groningen in the past three years. Each shop building offers an opportunity to 2 up to 4 new entrepreneurs. Our goal is to form an international community of new entrepreneurs who inspire each other and who each have their own thriving business with the support of SpareSpace. To increase our impact, we would really like to know the potential of this dark economy. Furthermore, we would like your help as a social entrepreneur in finding and connecting the hidden entrepreneurs in our societies. Our goal as an organization also includes the possibility of creating new jobs in the rural areas of Europe.

With the solutions provided in response to this challenge, we would like to expand our activities to other European countries. Furthermore, we hope to find like-minded organizations in Europe. Our intention is to find people who can help us with our challenge and who are willing to adopt the concept of SpareSpace in their own country.

Target community and Location 

The challenge proposed by SpareSpace is located in the north of The Netherlands. The targeted community are hidden entrepreneurs who live in the Province of Friesland, Drenthe and Groningen. This is the region were SpareSpace is started and were we want to start our scaling up internationally.

Our target group consists of people who aim to start their own company based on their own hobby or idea. We look for local craftmen and also want to help people with social security payments which don’t dare are can’t start making their hobby a business.

SpareSpace connects starters with each other. This connection can be digital via our own online platform, or offline via our community of entrepreneurs in several cities. Furthermore, SpareSpace organizes special events for its own group of entrepreneurs and offers individual coaching for new participants. In sum, we find and help and inspire new entrepreneurs to start up a business. This dedicated community forms the basis of SpareSpace.


Once we find the so-called dark economy, our company will be able to identify new participants. Furthermore, we will be able to measure the economic and societal advantages of enabling entrepreneurs to start their own business. Another vital part of our strategy is to find new and sustained partners in Europe who are willing to carry out our ideas and adapt our concept to their own regions.

SpareSpace already has 23 shops in Friesland in which we provide a space for 2 up to 4 new entrepreneurs per shop. SpareSpace participated in the Transition project in which we improved our business plan and established that our local challenge is an internationally recognized challenge as well.

Dennis Mous is the founder and owner of SpareSpace. Dennis has previously worked on redevelopment projects and the renewal of neighborhoods. Team member Nian Wetsteijn works as a community and communications officer. Second team member is Kirsten Slof, she controls the finances of SpareSpace.

SpareSpace has opened 23 shops and has helped 41 entrepreneurs to start their own business. To expand our activities to other European countries, we need to work more efficient to be able to find new entrepreneurs and select new locations where SpareSpace is wanted. The solutions we are looking for range from digital or technical to social improvements. For example, a technical improvement consists of an innovative tool which enables a craftsman to extend his production. Furthermore, we would really like to get to know our target group, i.e. one could think of organizing special events or developing online communication aimed towards starting entrepreneurs. SpareSpace is looking for innovative solutions and concrete results. Our company is not looking for merely a theoretical study.


We make sure that the SP’s we select will be properly supported financially. Furthermore, we can support the implementation of the solutions by contributing via all the options mentioned above. We aren’t looking for a one-time cooperation. Instead, we very much would like to find a new innovative instrument for SpareSpace. This sustainable instrument will support the extending our concept to other European countries and help as many people as possible in making their entrepreneurial dreams come true and supporting the local economies.

  1. SpareSpace has a broad network of organizations and professionals. We can contribute to all topics mentioned. SpareSpace wants to be an example of social entrepreneurship in Europe. We are looking for SP’s who want to commit on working with SpareSpace for a longer period and help support hidden entrepreneurs internationally. SpareSpace has gained experience in projects like the Social Challenge. For example, we entered the Transition project in 2015. During this project, we talked to different SP’s in London and Bilbao and in return learned a lot regarding social innovation business models.
  2. SpareSpace will implement the solutions in our business-concept and use the challenge to increase our impact. When we find the answers to our proposed challenge with the help of one or several SP’s, these solutions will provide a solid guideline to guarantee the growth of our impact. 

The Challenge Owner


SpareSpace wants to find the hidden entrepreneurs who, for the most part, work in the so-called dark economy.