Did you ever dream of starting up your own company? But never really dared to take a risk? Or have you already opened a business, but got totally lost on your way? One way or another, we’ve got something for you!
Let us introduce Nian Wetsteijn, a community manager at SpareSpace, – a platform that helps young entrepreneurs with guidance and expertise to turn their dream businesses into real ones.
Hi Nian, could you please introduce yourself? What is your background? What do you do?
Hello, I am Nian Wetsteijn and I am 23 years old. Together with Dennis Mous, we are the co-owners of SpareSpace.
Last year I graduated from Rotterdam Hogeschool in Small Business and Retail Management. I always wanted to be an entrepreneur. My mom is an entrepreneur and my uncle as well. I think I was born with an entrepreneur mind. When I was at school I already had a few business ideas. We even started a small company with three other people as a part of our school project back then. Last year I also launched my own start up: a clothing line for businesswomen.
What is Spare Space?
SpareSpace is the place for new entrepreneurs. It is a unique concept. We combine the right working space with services entrepreneurs may need. There are a lot of experts supporting young entrepreneurs. However, being a starter it’s not always easy to find an expert who would fit you both personally and financially. With a great amount of experienced professionals in the network SpareSpace can match you to the right experts, who will help you build your company and bring it to success. SpareSpace is like your coach: it gets to know your business and offers you what you need.
What is your role at Spare Space?
I run the community of SpareSpace. It is a great job, supporting all new
entrepreneurs. I stay in contact with our assigned experts and with our professional network consisting of Young Creators, Jong MKB, ECE, City of Rotterdam and for example Albeda Collega.
What is the story of SpareSpace? How did it all start?
Dennis started SpareSpace in Leeuwarden. After opening 23 shops and turning them into mini incubators/flex offices, he noticed that new entrepreneurs really benefit from each other by sharing knowledge and experience.
It was when Dennis started SpareSpace in Rotterdam to scale up that I came in. First as an intern, then as employee and now as co-owner.
At the moment we have a team of three. Nadia Bozic is our third partner and she is really good in connecting and supporting people. And Dennis is just an expert in entrepreneurship. A great team, growing a great business.
What are the vision and the goal of Spare Space?
We believe there’s a business opportunity for every entrepreneur.
From our experience we see a lot of people dreaming about their own companies. But only a few really take the next step or continue their business in hard times. Together with my colleagues we want to make entrepreneurship accessible for everyone by creating a network of the right experts that young entrepreneurs can use.
The goal of SpareSpace is to offer every entrepreneur a chance to actually become an entrepreneur.
How exactly does SpareSpace do it?
Let’s picture: you have an amazing idea of a new company. You walk into the chamber of commerce and sign in. But what’s next? You still need a website, social media, marketing, sales, administration, maybe an office space… A lot of young entrepreneurs get lost or lose inspiration on the way.
After conducting an extensive field research with the help of experienced businessmen and stakeholders, we came up with a list of most relevant services entrepreneurs may use to develop their companies.
We formed four SpareSpace packages: each with a different set of services.
Packages start from very basic sets of services (like SpareSpace Intro and SpareSpace DTO) – suitable for those who only have a business idea and want to test it first to further build a business; and develop into more distinctive ones (SpareSpace NEXT and SpareSpace Special). Packages include such services as coaching (several times a month), getting access to SpareSpace platform, network and workshops, opportunity to use SpareSpace co-working spaces, meeting rooms and showrooms to profile your products or services or even to have your own office.
(For a complete overview and more detailed information check out SpareSpace website: www.sparespace.org)
How does Spare Space platform work?
SpareSpace platform connects the whole SpareSpace community together: locations, experts and groups of entrepreneurs – 120 entrepreneurs a city.
Through platform you can get to know new entrepreneurs and ask questions. When you ask a question, you can categorise it in one or more of the ten categories so that experts will be able to help you out in the most efficient way. For example, if you have a concern about marketing – you put it into “Marketing” category. Then experts and other entrepreneurs, who have more knowledge about marketing sphere, will immediately get a notification about your question.
We connect different entrepreneurs and find answers to their questions similar to the passport of S2M, but more on a local scale.
People also meet each other regularly at our active workshops. Workshops are based on issues raised on the platform. During the workshop you are provided with practical help to build your company. For example, we offer tax administration consultancy and sessions with lawyers to help you form your business proposals. By the end of the workshop every entrepreneur has gained some knowledge and help and is ready to move forward.
However, it is not only about online communication. In SpareSpace we believe that live interaction and networking are very important when it comes to building your business.
For meeting each other we have our own clubhouse situated in the best location, we believe, Rotterdam has. It is located in the historical centre of the city, nearby the river, in a monumental setting. You can work on your company in the co-working spaces or cosy offices that we offer. It’s only accessible for our members and for limited S2M members: Van Vollenhovenstraat 11. You are invited! 😉
On your website we also saw that you organise fitness events. How is it relevant to the core concept of SpareSpace?
We want to make sure that our entrepreneurs look after themselves. By sports, healthy food and doing things that give them more energy! Knowing that entrepreneurs put all their time and energy in their companies, we want to make sure they stay healthy along the way.
We believe that a healthy mind comes together with a healthy body. That is why we want to stimulate physical activity by offering trainings and organising bootcamps at SpareSpace.
Why would you particularly recommend SpareSpace to young businessmen?
With SpareSpace you are able to test your business idea or your company without taking too big risks or having too many costs. We use a personal approach to every entrepreneur who comes to us with a great idea in mind. After SpareSpace you know for sure if you are going to start/continue your business. No more excuses. Take the leap!
60 entrepreneurs have already grown their businesses with SpareSpace. Join our team!