Boosting social and community-driven entrepreneurship for the transition to an inclusive and sustainable society


Social and community-driven entrepreneurs (SCEs) identify neglected societal problems and provide innovative solutions. But SCEs struggle with scaling up their initiatives to achieve full potential. Multiple stakeholders add to complexity and dominant actors present barriers for scaling. This is where Scentiss comes in.


The Scentiss research project puts together a unique multidisciplinary consortium of academic researchers, SCEs and stakeholders to tackle these challenges. Our overall goal is to develop new knowledge that boosts scaling up of social entrepreneurship and its innovative solutions, based on collaborative learning processes and novel tools. Central to Scentiss is a set of case studies focusing on the energy transition and local care. We translate our findings into viable, actionable strategies via scalable, bottom-up SCE initiatives and develop a learning track for professionals.


Our five main goals


Goal 1. Scentiss studies in which way the entrepreneurial ecosystem for SCEs that focus of energy and local healthcare transitions, may facilitate or hinder the flourishing and scaling of such entrepreneurship, as well as the ways in which this ecosystem and the broader context are influenced by entrepreneurs and stakeholders to become more facilitative.


Goal 2. Scentiss introduces a new, ready-to-use and open access, digital tool for impact management and measurement. The tool can be used by SCEs, policy makers, financers and others to monitor and steer progress on intended impact. At present, the lack of standardization when it comes to impact measurement (compared to, for instance, financial accounting) is a key barrier for progress on societal transformations. The Scentiss measurement tool will be teamed up with a repository of good SCE practices. 


Goal 3. Scentiss systematically builds a participatory learning approach which helps SCE’s to flourish and scale through improvements to their ecosystem. These adaptations may include more appropriate financial and business models, innovative collaborations, as well as better fitting policies, rules and regulations.


Goal 4. Scentiss examines which innovative organizational, financial and business models help SCEs flourish and scale. It will specifically focus on multipurpose SCEs. These organizations experiment with developing collaborations of SCEs with a strong value case but a weak business case, with organizations with a strong business case. Examples are health care collectives which team up with energy organizations. Scentiss researches the ecosystem configurations in which these innovations flourish, especially their legal and financial arrangements.


Goal 5. Scentiss culminates the learnings of the project in an intensive learning track for professionals (policy makers, project managers) who aim to facilitate transitions by adopting SCE mechanisms. This way, we also ensure that the learnings of the project will have a longer lasting impact, and can continue to be adapted along the state-of-the-art (academic) knowledge over time.


Scentiss is funded by NWO, the Dutch Research Council, and will run from 2023 to mid-2027. The consortium is led by Utrecht School of Economics (U.S.E.), Utrecht University. You may want to take a look at the full consortium here.


Scentiss Steering Committee


Martijn Arnoldus (program manager)

Prof. Dr. Niels Bosma (principal investigator)

Dr. Sergio Espana Cubillo (Utrecht University)

Dr. Karen Geuijen (Utrecht University)

Dr. Maarten Hogenstijn (Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences)

Prof. Dr. Caroline Hummels (Technical University Eindhoven)

Prof. Dr. Tine de Moor (Rotterdam School of Management)

Dr. Claudia van Orden (Windesheim University of Applied Sciences)