Activity report of year 2023

February 22, 2024

2023 was a very intense, fast-paced and full year! Our scale this year went beyond all frameworks – with the number of events, partners and countries, the diversity and depth of topics – from organising the two-day stage at Conversation Festival “LAMPA”, to international visits and trainings, consulting and running conferences and spending many hours in online meetings.
In 2023, we put a lot of effort into ensuring that social enterprises have an increasingly supportive environment, support mechanisms and opportunities to thrive. The Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia continues to develop social entrepreneurship for long-term change in Latvia, working in three main areas – public awareness, capacity building of members and advocacy. Here is a look back at the most important milestones of the past year!



Social entrepreneurship pitch competition “LET THE GOOD IDEAS GROW“

The Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia has organised the social entrepreneurship idea competition “LET THE GOOD IDEAS GROW” for the fifth time. This year the competition was held in cooperation with Luminor bank, as well as the Development Finance Institution ALTUM and the charity shop “Otrā Elpā”. We had two winners, each of whom received EUR 4000 prize. Each year, the competition is open to existing and aspiring social entrepreneurs from all over Latvia who need funding to implement a new social entrepreneurship idea or an existing project. The final of “LET THE GOOD IDEAS GROW” was broadcasted live on

In 2023, the prizes were awarded to:
🏆 Jury’s vote – “Is it easy to put on trousers?” / Vilber’s adaptive / Ogre region – Zane Berzina
🏆 In the audience voting – “BJMK Rokskola” / BJMK / Jelgava cityZane Rožkalna
🏆 Luminor bank Sympathy Award Winner – Brand “PARTAPIS” / Kristīne Kalēja – textile recycling in design clothing
🏆 ALTUM Sympathy Award Winner – LeatherWorks / Madara Miltoviča – natural leather scrap workshop
🏆 “Otrā Elpa” Sympathy Award Winner – “Remontbufete” / Zane Ruģēna – repair and building materials exchange


Conference “Be proud. Evaluate. Celebrate!”

In 2023, the social entrepreneurship sector in Latvia officially turned five years old. During this time, a lot has been achieved: the legal framework has been established and strengthened, public awareness of the importance of social entrepreneurship has been raised, public investment has contributed to the development and growth of social enterprises. Today, more than 200 enterprises with social enterprise status are active, but the reality is that there are many more.

📣 On October 12, together with the Ministry of Welfare, we organised a conference dedicated to the five-year anniversary of social entrepreneurship, “Be proud. Evaluate. Celebrate!”.
The Ministry of Welfare, ALTUM and social entrepreneurship support organisations – Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia, Reach for Change Latvia and New Door – as well as social entrepreneurs themselves shared their stories about their achievements.

 “Constellation of Social Entrepreneurs” Stage at the Conversation Festival “LAMPA”

For the first time ever, the Conversation Festival “LAMPA” dedicated its own stage to social entrepreneurship – “The Constellation of Social Entrepreneurs”, which offered a diverse and exciting programme with more than 10 events in various interesting formats throughout the festival! They inspired, informed and provided practical knowledge not only about the daily life of social entrepreneurs, but also focused on 3 main themes – social entrepreneurship, inclusive society and innovation in education.
The two-day stage was organised together with our members, the social enterprise “Constellation Team”, who provided the Constellation Cube – a creative platform/stage where you could try playing musical instruments, sing and do creative tasks in between the events.

We organised 10 events with social entrepreneurs:

  • Ltd “Kano Editions” masterclass “Learning through play and creativity”;
  • Social enterprise “Liberated” and the “Mobility Centre for People with Disabilities” organised a discussion on an inclusive society “Invisible abilities – how to include otherness?”;
  • Discussion by the social enterprise “Barboleta” on “Motivation and innovation in education”;
  • “Mentor Latvia” discussion “YES! Young people start an independent life! How?”;
  • The Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia organized charades “Don’t build empty straws!”, which allowed to get to know social enterprises in an interactive way;
  • Social enterprise “Rabarbers” organized “Whining room – support group for parents”;
  • Riga Business School created discussion “When Latvia innovates education, we get to Harvard, Buffalo and MIT!”;
  • Discussion of the social enterprise “” “Who is smarter in family matters – mum or dad?”;
  • A talk by the social enterprise “Ligero” on activating the invisible workforce “Job opportunities for all!”;
  • Interactive discussion “Invisible World: close your eyes and see – education through entertainment in the dark” by the social enterprise “Invisible World”.


Cycle of Social Entrepreneurship Acitivities

The most significant advocacy events in 2023 took place during the Ministry of Welfare’s Social Entrepreneurship Activity Cycle “Developing Social Entrepreneurship Together!” funded by the European Social Fund. Strengthening the social entrepreneurship ecosystem in Latvia took place from the beginning of the year until November. The activities were implemented by organisations representing the sector – the Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia, the association “New Door”, “Reach for Change Latvia” and the social enterprise “Visas Iespējas” (All Opportunities). The series of events was aimed at different target audiences – existing and prospective social entrepreneurs, stakeholders in the sector, local authorities, investors and policy makers, young people, business incubators and organisations with the capacity and resources to create an enabling environment for social entrepreneurship.


Between December 2022 and May 2023, the Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia met with all 43 Latvian municipalities in individual face-to-face visits to discuss their opportunities to engage in social entrepreneurship development, tools and actions to support the sector, as well as examples of good practice. A total of 317 municipal staff, including chairpersons and executive directors, participated in the face-to-face meetings. Overall, after these visits, SEAL has concluded that organizing meetings and discussions on social entrepreneurship in municipalities is a very important step for the development of the sector. The development of the sector requires the involvement of a wide range of professionals, and by meeting representatives from different sectors, even within the same municipality, discussions and the planning of new interdisciplinary activities were stimulated. It is important to continue working with municipalities, both to follow developments in the field in each region and to maintain up-to-date information exchange due to the turnover of municipal staff.

We have noted that after visits to at least four municipalities, business support competitions have focused specifically on social entrepreneurship, at least four other municipalities have introduced real estate tax exempts for businesses with social enterprise status, at least two municipalities have introduced sales tax exempt, a municipal agency has been tasked with developing social entrepreneurship, and two municipalities have given free use of premises to social enterprises.



To provide comprehensive knowledge for starting and running a successful social entrepreneurship, we organised a free e-learning course “Social Entrepreneurship School”. It was attended by people interested in social entrepreneurship, as well as by idea authors and existing social entrepreneurs.

In a series of nine online lectures, experts from different fields provided concise and useful knowledge on topics relevant to social entrepreneurship, such as

  • The basics of social entrepreneurship;
  • Business plan development and reviewing existing plans;
  • Creating and identifying social impact;
  • Financial management;
  • Branding and selling the company;
  • External and visual communication;
  • Digital marketing;
  • Business crisis management;
  • Creativity.


The social entrepreneurship ecosystem comprises a variety of stakeholders who together create a strong and supportive environment for the development of social enterprises. Strengthening this ecosystem is important as it fosters sustainable and socially impactful entrepreneurship that generates positive impacts for both society and the environment. In order to promote understanding and involvement of all stakeholders in strengthening the social entrepreneurship ecosystem, we bring together in regional Think-tanks opinion leaders, entrepreneurs, representatives of different organisations and municipalities with the will, opportunity and resources to strengthen and develop social entrepreneurship in the region, as well as social entrepreneurs themselves. The aim of the Think-tanks is to understand the role of each stakeholder and to prepare concrete action plans (actions here and now, not visions of the future) to strengthen and develop social entrepreneurship in each region.


In the regions, we held meetings with organisations that have the potential to develop social entrepreneurship ideas or are already developing the field, such as academic staff. In this way, we strengthened the knowledge and capacity of existing organisations and informed new audiences about social entrepreneurship, both by inspiring young people and by creating opportunities for entrepreneurs to learn more about social entrepreneurship. A total of 8 events took place in six cities.


Together with the Procurement Monitoring Bureau Office and the Centre for Public Policy PROVIDUS, we organised five workshops on “SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE PUBLIC PROCUREMENT – benefits, risks, examples, practices” in February and March 2023, attended by a total of 123 participants, who were also offered individual consultations.

The events explained the nature and benefits of socially responsible public procurement for public authorities, the practical and legal aspects of implementation and enforcement, examples of good practice, risks and practical work.
An explanatory guide to socially responsible public procurement was also produced, providing clear and concise information on the stages of procurement implementation, recommendations to be taken into account when setting requirements in public procurement, conditions and examples for different groups of services and goods, as well as for the implementation of public works, as well as examples of good practice from Latvia.


This summer we invited social entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurship idea authors, representatives of municipalities and sector support organisations, as well as other interested parties to networking and experience sharing events – visit social enterprises in the regions! It was an opportunity not only to get to know the work and daily life of social entrepreneurs in a practical way, but also to get to know each other, talk, gain inspiration and new knowledge, share experience, build new partnerships and strengthen the sense of belonging to the social entrepreneurship community! Not only the programme of events was inspiring, but also the venues – BMX track, horse pasture, Valmiera Green School, brunch farm, creative bread lab and other interesting places where we met and were inspired together with 89 participants.


Our Social Entrepreneurship Ambassadors attended the events and social entrepreneurs shared their stories. To promote social entrepreneurship in different regions, each event featured a local social entrepreneur as well as a speaker from another region. Visitors had the opportunity to have a frank discussion with the social entrepreneurs, revealing their personal sides and insights into business.


In order to promote the inclusion of the social economy in other planning documents and activities, proposals for the integration of social entrepreneurship/social economy aspects in other planning documents and activities were made, five proposals were submitted to the Ministry of Welfare.

The topics of proposals are:

  1. Proposal for the implementation of the deinstitutionalisation process in cooperation with social enterprises
  2. Proposal for the integration of social entrepreneurship aspects into the waste management process
  3. Proposal for integrating social entrepreneurship aspects into resocialisation
  4. Proposal for the inclusion of social entrepreneurship in the Diaspora Action Plan
  5. Proposal for the development of a social economy strategy in Latvia

The result has been useful materials that have been used in the work with stakeholders and have facilitated cooperation with organisations and companies working in these fields.



The Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia has 143 members, most of whom are social enterprises, but we also have social entrepreneurs and other interested parties – associations, foundations, LTDs without social enterprise status and individuals. During 2023, 14 members joined the community.

Becoming a member of the Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia gives everyone the opportunity not only to be part of an organisation that defends the interests of social entrepreneurs. It is an opportunity to find like-minded people, build new collaborations, stay informed about the most important developments in the sector, as well as to initiate new projects or thematic working groups.

This year we would like to highlight:

  • We regularly gather key information on various training, competition and funding opportunities. During 2023, we gathered 67 different offers;
  • We organised 11 networking events – some of them were more focused on work integration implementors, but all of them were open for all members with thematic focuses: work life balance, export development, 2 trainings on Meta (Facebook and Instagram) platforms, as well as visits to social entrepreneurs;
  • Five of the members have been nominated for different competitions: the Top 100 Women in Social Entrepreneurship to Agnese Frīdenberga, the Social Economy Award to Gustavs Upmanis from the social enterprise “Visas Iespējas” and Baiba Blomniece-Jurāne from the social enterprise “Barboleta”, the social enterprise “Mobilizing” with the Difftravel initiative, and the social enterprise “Neredzamā pasaule” in the “Disability Award of the Year” organised by the Ombudsman, 3 of which have also won these nominations!
  • During the year, we sent out 18 mailings inviting people to get involved in various SEAL activities, participate in events and competitions organised by others, and apply for funding or development opportunities;
  • We created 16 new podcast episodes with social entrepreneurs;
  • We provided publicity opportunities for members at the Conversation Festival “LAMPA”, and raised the profile of the sector by creating a 2-day stage programme “Constellation of Social Entrepreneurs”.
  • We made it possible to join our joint health insurance scheme – a much-appreciated annual initiative among our members who would otherwise not be able to get a health insurance policy.
  • Each year we make our members’ offers available at various festivals so that everyone can buy the goods and services produced by our entrepreneurs. For summer and Christmas offers we provide special publicity with paid advertising;
  • We offer our members to participate in various international projects and initiatives – in 2023 we organised 2 trainings on podcast as a tool for social impact communication in Tallinn and Riga, we created an exchange visit to Lūznava Manor on the development of the New European Bauhaus Initiative, and we went on exchange visits together to Sicily and Croatia;
  • In addition, we provide free invitations or discounts to various events such as the Sustainability Conference and others.



The Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia works in advocacy both nationally and internationally. Local priorities include creating a supportive environment for the development of social enterprises, establishing and developing meaningful support mechanisms for social entrepreneurship, and adopting regulations binding on social entrepreneurs.
International priorities include participation in projects and activities organised by international social entrepreneurship network organisations.

In 2023, a special focus will be on advocacy and the development of the social entrepreneurship ecosystem. Among the achievements, we highlight:

  • We have developed 5 proposals to integrate social entrepreneurship into other areas;
  • We issued 7 opinions that have a major impact on issues relevant to the social entrepreneurship ecosystem:
  • Amendments to the Law on Public Benefit Organisations;
  • Conceptual report on “Opportunities to stimulate investment and diversify financing in social enterprises to promote their long-term growth”.
  • Rules for the implementation of Measure 4.3.3 “Support to Social Entrepreneurship” Amendments to the Public Procurement Law
  • Rules on the social target groups of pupils of a private educational establishment and the conclusion of an agreement on the participation of the municipality in the financing of the maintenance costs of the establishment Latvia’s position on the Social Economy Action Plan
  • On the establishment of a competence centre for social innovation
  • In 2023, we started working on the EU Fund Monitors project, where we are involved in sub-committees for monitoring EU funds, together with 5 other organisations. The nomination of Regita Zeila, Director of the Latvian Social Entrepreneurship Association, was approved by the Memorandum Council, nominating her to represent the views of non-governmental organisations in the EU Funds Monitoring Sub-Committee “A More Social Europe”.
  • On the initiative of the Deputy Mayor of Riga, Edvards Ratnieks, in November we participated in a meeting between the Riga City Council and social entrepreneurs, the aim of which was to inform social entrepreneurs about current developments in the field of business support in the Riga City Council. Around 20 social entrepreneurs from Riga took part in the discussion and actively expressed their suggestions for closer cooperation with the Riga City Council, including:
    – the possibility of introducing real estate tax incentives for companies with social enterprise status,
    – the availability of premises and a clear process for obtaining information and applying for them,
    – a single point of contact.
  • We represent the interests of our members in other associations of which we are members – the Civic Alliance-Latvia, as well as in the organisation “Latvian Platform for Development Cooperation”;
  • We met with academics who are developing courses and study programmes on social entrepreneurship, which resulted in a new course at the BA School of Business and Finance.

Active work in advocacy has led to various recognitions, new collaborations and work as an expert in the field of social entrepreneurship and the social economy.

Last year, the Director of the Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia was one of the 4 representatives from Latvia to be included in the “Top 100 Women in Social Entrepreneurship”. Agnese Frīdenberga, a senior researcher at the Providus Think-tank and a long-standing member of the SEAL Council, Diana Lapkis, founder of social entrepreneurship accelerator New Door, and Inga Muižniece, founder of social enterprise Sonido and Chairwoman of the SEAL Council, were also included in the top 100 from Latvia.

As experts, we were involved in evaluating competitions, licensing study programmes related to social entrepreneurship, and assessing entrepreneurship activity at national level.



This year, the international dimension was also well represented, with various projects providing opportunities for our members to take part in exchanges and developing valuable materials for use in their daily work.

In 2023 we continued the work with 6 projects:

  • We continued our work on the B-WISE project “Blueprint for Sectoral Cooperation on Skills in Work Integration Social Enterprises (B-WISE)” with 28 partners from 13 countries. The project aims to develop the skills of everyone working in a work integration social enterprise and to develop a Europe-wide strategy to tackle skills shortages in the work integration sector.
  • In 2023, we started engaging social economy actors in the “New European Bauhaus” within the SEA4NEB project. The project aims to combine design, sustainability, accessibility, affordability and investment to help deliver the European Green Deal and connect with the everyday lives of European citizens. The involvement of social entrepreneurs is important as they also work on issues such as regeneration of abandoned spaces through an inclusive, green and local community development approach.
  • The LOCAL-Y-MPACT project, which aimed to promote cooperation between local authorities, social entrepreneurs and NGOs, has reached its final stage. HERE you can see the results developed during the project.
  • As part of the Podcasting based social impact learning environment project, we organised 2 international trainings on podcasting as a tool for social impact communication. In addition, we recorded conversations with social entrepreneurs about the impact they are having, in collaboration with existing podcasts and programmes. Listen to them in Latvian HERE.
    To develop the collaboration between traditional and social entrepreneurs, we joined the Buy Social B2B Europe project. The long-term impact of the project is to develop the concept of social procurement, or buying from social enterprises that put people and planet first.
    The biggest added value of member organisations is often the opportunity to meet other like-minded people to build collaborations. We also provide this opportunity internationally through the Baltic Sea Social Impact Network, so that new collaborations can be established between social entrepreneurs in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Sweden.



For social entrepreneurship to thrive, awareness of the importance of the topic needs to be updated in society. That’s why we organise public lectures and workshops, get involved in events organised by other organisations, provide advice to those interested in social entrepreneurship and send out news bulletins on the latest developments.

In 2023, we have given 7 media interviews and sent out 10 newsletters with the latest opportunities for everyone. We provided 49 consultations to social entrepreneurs to help them understand the best way forward for their ideas. We participated in events organised by other organisations to talk about social entrepreneurship, such as the closing event of the Democracy Academy at the Mežaparks stage, the Democracy Festival in Kuldīga, the conference of the association “Cerību spārni” on social entrepreneurship as an employment opportunity for people with disabilities, etc.
In addition to the annual activities, we organised 5 regional think tanks to discuss the opportunities to get involved in social entrepreneurship, organised an e-learning course “School of Social Entrepreneurship” where 9 lectures were given on different aspects of social entrepreneurship, and collaborated with podcast producers to record episodes with social entrepreneurs to reach new audiences.

Thanks to everyone involved for a busy and productive 2023, and here’s to a successful cooperation in 2024!