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Local economies are under pressure. Most ‘grassroots’ (local or bottom-up) initiatives struggle to grow into businesses while the need for them is urgent to create more jobs. How can technology and entrepreneurship enable local economies to flourish? For tech startups our country has built ecosystems that provide access to network, capital, tech know-how and business coaching. This is what grassroots initiatives deserve and need as well.

Little child with mother on a swing in balck and white
Photo by Stacii Samidin


The Grassroots Business Lab was developed with Wolfpack, at the time program partner of the Roadmap Next Economy (RNE), an ambitious economic development program.

As tech and business modeling are pushing our economy towards more granularity on one side, and grassroots initiatives on the other side may become a new economic force – let’s bring these worlds together. The Grassroots Business Lab develops community driven business cases that use technology to scale.

Empty basketball court in front of appartment building in black and white
Photo by Stacii Samidin


Focusing on two local ‘lab’ environments (Bospolder-Tussendijk, Rotterdam, and Moerwijk, Den Haag) we’ve scouted and created a funnel of initiatives and potential ventures that have a focus on long term impact on the community; enabled by technology to make it scalable; with a business case that is driven by the right team.

Since our kick off (late summer 2018) six cases were supported and launched. Our role varied from building the proposition and business case, to just selecting a team and finding funds.

People on bikes in front of store in black and white
Photo by Stacii Samidin


Results: Trust is a gig platform funded by the Grassroots Business Lab; 

Precious Plastic The Hague got funded by World Startup Factory; the Hofpas got funded by Rabobank The Hague; the neighborhood Energy Company WijkEnergieWerkt got funded by Citylab010; the Open Badges bottom up curriculum was funded by Rabobank Rotterdam; business models and revenue stream was found for the WijkWerkcooperatie and the Circulair Raw Material Station at the Afrikaandermarkt (Rotterdam). 


Delfshaven Cooperatie, Afrikaanderwijk Cooperatie, Worldstartup, Rabobank, MRDH, Gemeente Rotterdam, Innovation Quarter

Little child with mother on a swing in balck and white
Photo by Stacii Samidin

A stronger local economy

If you are interested in the Grassroots Business Lab for your city or community, we are happy to share our findings with you! If so, please contact