Social Economy Actors for New European Bauhaus (SEA4NEB)

The New European Bauhaus (NEB) is an environmental, economic, and cultural project, launched by the European Commission in October 2020, that aims to combine design, sustainability, accessibility, affordability, and investment in order to help deliver the European Green Deal and connect it to our living spaces. The NEB then proposes to be an interdisciplinary project, acting as a bridge between the world of science and technology and the world of art and culture, and re-thinking the opportunities green and digital challenges could bring to our lives.

Partners from three European countries have collaborated to create a project ‘SEA4NEB’ that addresses the specific theme: Social transformation through New European Bauhaus. Social Economy Enterprises (SEEs) can play a crucial role within the New Bauhaus Initiative, since they seem to be appropriate for regenerating abandoned spaces, with an inclusive, green and local community development approach. SEEs have already proven to be resilient and capable to play a crucial role in recovering from economic crises, especially when they operate in an enabling ecosystem driven by supportive public authorities. 

The project ‘SEA4NEB’ aims at promoting social economy models to contribute to the New EU Bauhaus and at how they can foster spatial and sectorial clusters, taking an ecological approach to cultural cooperation and territorial development with local authorities. It focuses on good practices of “SE NEBs”, which are territories regenerated according to NEB principles by or with a strong intervention of SE actors and local authorities. The whole methodology of the project is based on a strong partnership at local level between the local authority and the SE actor, while Diesis Network will act as transnational facilitator and coordinator. The social economy missions will be organised using the methodology of the peer review.

The partnership

The outputs of the project will be:

  • 6 case studies and 3 peer reviews background paper and final reports
  • 3 local action plans
  • 1 set of strategic recommendations for replication
  • 1 set of EU level recommendation
  • 1 on-line platform


Ministry of Welfare announces applications for social entrepreneurship support programmes

From 5 to 30 January, the Ministry of Welfare is announcing applications for social entrepreneurship acceleration and incubation programmes. Both programmes are free and open to social enterprises and social entrepreneurship idea authors.

The acceleration programme is run by New Door and is aimed at social entrepreneurship idea authors - individuals and legal persons who have an idea for social entrepreneurship or are currently implementing a social project and would like to turn it into a sustainable, profitable business. The Social Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme will provide knowledge and personalised expert support to aspiring social entrepreneurs on their journey from idea to sustainable business plan, while fostering participants' personal growth and understanding of entrepreneurship. Three months of intensive training from February to May will help to take you from an idea to a real business development plan and its implementation. The programme will accommodate 10 to 15 participants and is open to individuals or teams of up to three.

Anyone interested can find out more about the acceleration programme at an open day on 17 January at 18.00 in person at the Oracule Tang co-working space, Doma laukums 2, Riga, and online at the Ministry of Welfare's Facebook account.

The incubation programme is implemented by "Reach for Change Latvia" and is intended for existing social enterprises that have obtained the status of a social enterprise and wish to strengthen their capacity and receive support for business development. The eight-month programme will run from March to October and will be an opportunity to improve your skills and increase your knowledge in areas such as effective solution development, financial sustainability, leadership, team building, learn how to increase your income and find new opportunities and contacts for business development under the guidance of various experts. The incubation programme will welcome five to eight participants and the selection process will take place in three rounds.

More information about each ativity and application forms can be found here: www.sua.lv/kopa

The acceleration and incubation programmes are part of the Ministry of Welfare's Social Entrepreneurship Activity Series "Developing Social Entrepreneurship Together!", funded by the European Social Fund. The cycle's diverse activities, planned to strengthen and develop the social entrepreneurship ecosystem in Latvia, will run until November 2023. They are implemented in cooperation with sector organisations - the Latvian Social Entrepreneurship Association, the associations "New Door", "Reach for Change Latvia" and the social enterprise "Visas Iespējas".


Touristic catalogue of social enterprises in Georgia

Social entrepreneurs are very diverse and their involvement in the tourism sector is a step towards a more inclusive environment and accessibility. Recent tourism trends also show that tourists prefer to experience local culture, traditions, seek interesting offers, sustainable solutions and buy products and services that have a positive social impact, as well as support local businesses and communities.

Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia in cooperation with the Social Enterprise Alliance (SEA) and the Regional Sustainable Development Institute (RSDI) of Georgia created a touristic catalogue of social enterprises in Georgia.

The Catalogue presents a number of tourist itineraries with the destination of various social enterprises in Georgia. The catalogue uncovers more than ten social enterprises in Georgia, explains their work and social purpose, and explores the services and products they offer. It is designed in such a way that when planning a trip to Georgia, you can plan to visit social enterprises in different regions of Georgia. The social enterprises included in the catalogue are the ones offering their products, various workshops and delicious meals:

  • Ikorta, a social enterprise, makes jewellery and provides job opportunities for women who had to leave their homes and relocate as a result of the war.
  • Tsnuli, a social enterprise, employs and integrates people with disabilities in a woodworking and design weaving workshop. 
  • Nukriani Workshops, a social enterprise, offers various workshops, gifts and corporate souvenirs and provides training and job opportunities for local women to promote employment and economic development in the region.  
  • Temi is an organisation that works with organic farming, offers wine tasting, aims to provide shelter for socially vulnerable people, create a family environment, employment opportunities and improve their job skills.
  • Alaverdi Blue, a social enterprise, develops sustainable rural tourism, offering accommodation, cheese tasting and traditional dishes. The social objective of the company is to provide opportunities for economic activity for socially disadvantaged people.
  • Social Enterprise Babale creates decorative and functional objects from wood, ceramics and textiles, each of which is a distinctive, unique handcraft. The mission of the social enterprise is to provide independent living for people with Down syndrome through employment and vocational skills development.
  • Social enterprise Potteria preserves and promotes traditional Georgian craft working methods, contributing to the reintegration of women with criminal backgrounds into society.
  • Social enterprise Kodala creates wooden toys and souvenirs and employs people with disabilities. 
  • Social cafes Mziuri, Cafune, Knowledge Cafe, Eight +1, Mego Bar and
  • ESKI social entrepreneurship concept store selling goods from social enterprises.

The opportunities for social entrepreneurs to get involved in the tourism sector were studied within the project “Social Entrepreneurs in Tourism”, supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia. The project looked at social entrepreneurs in Latvia and Georgia who are already active in the tourism sector and those who would like to get involved. During the project social entrepreneurs received various consultations to develop and communicate attractive offers. Partner organisation in Georgia developed a tourist itinerary targeting social enterprises, while Latvian social enterprises visited Georgia, tested the itineraries and made suggestions and recommendations to their colleagues on how to improve their offers.


Key findings about the work integration social enterprises ecosystem in Europe

In the framework of Work Package 1 “Research – State of the Art”, EURICSE made some key findings about the WISEs ecosystem in Europe, labour policies and skills needs and gaps. 

The labour market: trends and challenges

Work is crucial to both the welfare of every human being and to the stability of societies. However, unlike the standard assumptions of neoclassical theoretical models, the labour market is far from being perfect. On the one side, there are applicants that are highly qualified and trained, who normally have good career prospects; on the opposite side, are positioned workers that are at risk of labour market exclusion, i.e., workers with support needs (WSN), e.g., people with disabilities (PWDs); people with substance use disorders; convicts and former convicts; long-term unemployed; homeless people; asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants; NEETs; women survivors of violence; members of ethnic minorities and people with low qualifications. 

Since their formation, modern welfare states have adopted labour policies to support the work integration of WSNs. These policies can be classified into four main groups: (i) regulatory policies, which consist of the adoption of quota systems that oblige all or some enterprises to hire a minimum percentage of WSNs; (ii) compensation policies, which compensate enterprises for WSNs’ lower productivity; (iii) substitutive policies, aimed at creating a “substitutive labour market”; and (iv) supported employment, which consists of a mix of policies that intervene directly with dedicated tutors to support the selection and training costs of enterprises integrating WSNs. 

Nevertheless, most of these policies have proved unable to ensure a balanced allocation of the available labour force. The existence of large groups of unemployed persons who are at risk of social exclusion has encouraged the search for alternative work-integration pathways. Work Integration Social Enterprises (WISEs) are one of the most innovative and successful examples.

Drawing on a preliminary analysis of WISEs in all the Member States (MSs) of the European Union (EU) and an empirical analysis consisting of both a face-to-face and an online survey carried out in the 13 B-WISE partner countries, the report analyses the main drivers, features and development trends of WISEs in the EU. Furthermore, the report investigates the skills needs and gaps of WISEs’ workers, especially in the digital area. 

Work integration Social Enterprises: drivers, features, and models of integration 

WISEs are an institutional mechanism of supported employment that favours workers discriminated against by conventional enterprises and provides them with appropriate on-the-job training. Thanks to the expertise accumulated in working with WSNs, WISEs design organisational processes that suit employees’ needs and take stock of their skills and capabilities. WISEs are double-output enterprises; indeed, in addition to trading marketable goods and services, they also deliver work integration support services to WSNs otherwise excluded from the labour market. 

In some countries (e.g., France, Greece, and Italy), WISEs have emerged from below, mainly thanks to the self-organisation of supporters, the families of WSNs or WSNs themselves; in other countries (e.g., Bulgaria, Croatia, Lithuania, Slovenia and Spain), WISEs have evolved from traditional sheltered workshops, which have progressively shifted to a more entrepreneurial stance and started to behave more and more like WISEs. 

Since their emergence, WISEs have developed different models of integration. While some WISEs are structured to create stable job positions for WSNs within the organisation itself (permanent integration model), some other WISEs train WSNs on the job to prepare them to work in the mainstream labour market (transitional integration model). A third group of WISEs have developed a mixed integration model. Several factors explain the choice of a particular model of integration, including the types of WSNs integrated, the incentives and constraints of public policies, the connections of WISEs with labour policies and the degree of interaction of WISEs with other potential employers. 

WISEs operate in a wide spectrum of economic sectors. The lion’s share are however labour-intensive industries (e.g., manufacturing, construction, cleaning) where low added-value jobs predominate, requiring low levels of specialization from the workers’ side. 

WISE recognition

The report maps the legal structures of both legally recognised WISEs and WISEs that operate “outside the radar”, as they are neither legally defined as WISEs, nor conceived as WISEs by the organizations themselves. 

WISEs vary to a great extent across EU in terms of legislation: while in some countries (e.g., Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain) WISEs have a specific legal framework that applies to them, in other countries (e.g., Austria, Estonia, Ireland, Netherlands and Sweden) WISEs mainly use traditional legal forms that were neither specifically designed for them, nor for social enterprises whatsoever. There are moreover countries (e.g., Czechia, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania and Slovakia) where the ad hoc legislation for WISEs introduced are rather ineffective and the newly established WISEs continue to use legal forms that have not been designed for them. In some countries, WISEs are registered in special registers (e.g., in Sweden) or are identifiable thanks to specific funding schemes (e.g., in Austria) or private mark (e.g., in the Netherlands). 

Noteworthy is that in countries such as e.g., Italy, changes in legislation have been either essential or key in fostering the development of WISEs on a wide scale. Finally, in countries (e.g., Bulgaria, Croatia, Lithuania, Slovenia and Spain) where sheltered workshops have transformed into fully-fledged enterprises, WISEs use legal forms or statuses that were originally designed for the former. 

WISE resources

Running a WISE entails higher production costs (mainly related to the training and supervision of WSNs integrated) when compared to conventional enterprises. WISEs struggle moreover to access repayable resources owing to their specific not-for-profit nature. For these reasons, WISEs have developed peculiar models of sustainability and rely upon a mix of public and private resources, including non-monetary contributions (e.g., voluntary contributions, donations received from members and assets made available by the community); non-repayable resources (public – e.g., subsidies and grants to cover investments in fixed assets, support for workplace adaptation and training – and private, e.g., indivisible reserves resulting from the constraint on the distribution of profits); repayable resources (from e.g., socially-oriented and ethical banks); fiscal advantages and resources from income generating activities thanks to the selling of goods and services to public agencies, individuals, and conventional enterprises. 

As highlighted by the B-WISE research, there is overall a need for more enabling public schemes and policies. The great majority of EU MSs have indeed inconsistent and fragmented public support systems, which fail to consider adequately the social responsibility taken on by WISEs. In more than a few countries, there is disproportionate access to public support resources – which depends on the target groups addressed by WISEs – with WISEs integrating PWDs having access to a more generous support system. In other countries, only selected typologies of WISEs benefit from a targeted support system, whereas the remaining typologies have no access to support measures whatsoever. 

Country patterns: from traditional labour policies to WISEs

WISEs can be clustered in three groups of countries: (i) Central and Eastern Europe (i.e., Bulgaria, Croatia, Latvia, Poland, Romania and Slovenia), (ii) Southern Europe (i.e., Greece, Italy and Spain) and (iii) Western Europe (i.e., Austria, Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands). 

In Central and Eastern Europe WISEs are the most widely recognized social enterprise typology. In these countries, WISEs legal recognition and public support are relatively unsatisfactory, whereas the EU has played a major role in supporting their development. 

In Southern Europe, WISEs are strongly rooted in the longstanding tradition of cooperatives and they have been legally recognized. Key challenges influencing the development of WISEs include high unemployment rates, the presence of a large informal sector, a high segmentation of the labour market and a poor development of active labour market policies.

In Western Europe, active labour market policies are well developed; they have on the one hand contributed to higher employment rate and, on the other hand, they have led to more flexible labour markets. While WISEs are fully integrated in the welfare system in Austria and Belgium, they are treated like any other enterprise in the Netherlands, where an “equal playing field for all enterprises” exists.  

Technical and soft skills in WISEs 

The aim of the B-WISE face-to-face empirical analysis was to identify skills needs and gaps of three target groups: (i) enablers (e.g., manager, area coordinators, and ICT specialists); (ii) supporters (e.g., job coaches, tutors and mentors) and (iii) WSNs. Drawing on the European Skills, Competences, Qualification and Occupations (ESCO) framework, 403 workers were interviewed so as to examine their skills endowments and gaps. 

Based on the research conducted, to perform their jobs, enablers require a broad spectrum of managerial as well as communication, collaboration and creativity-related skills. Supporters – who deal with a variety of activities, from planning work time and space to assist WSNs – need a mix of both hard and soft skills. In their view, the most relevant skills are those related to the training and support of WSNs. Lastly, according to WSNs, operational skills – such as sorting and packaging goods, cleaning and assembling products – are essential to carry out day-to-day activities with accuracy, precision and autonomy.

While there is no significant gap between skills relevance and skills endowment, there is room for improvement for all the three target groups, especially in those skills that are considered as most relevant. According to both enablers and supporters, skills gaps are mainly due to the lack of economic resources. Based on enablers’ responses, also labour shortages of workers with the needed job profile have however a role in explaining their own skills gaps. Supporters consider by contrast the scarcity of suitable training activities a key explaining factor. Lastly, WSNs identify the lack of time to learn new skills as the most relevant reason explaining their own skill gaps.

Enablers’ and supporters’ skills gaps negatively affect their capacity to assist current or additional WSNs in their work integration paths. The main concern for WSNs is their inability to work while ensuring proper quality and/or speed, which may provoke delays or hamper the quality of the products/services supplied to customers. Training is seen as the most important measure to address skills gaps, but the lack of resources to be allocated to training by most WISEs hinders training attendance. On top of this, respondents highlight the lack of suitable training activities that are fully tailored to address the skills gaps especially of WSNs. 

Technology and digital skills gaps in WISEs

Relying on both the findings of the face-to-face and online survey (completed by 175 enablers), the study shows how technologies and digitisation processes are – especially in large WISEs, in which the level of digitization is higher compared with smaller ones – applied to a large extent in management process (through e.g., the use of cloud computing services and e-invoices) and for the standardization of production processes (through e.g., technologies like Enterprise Resource Planning software packages). Conversely, some advance technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, rapid prototyping and assistive technologies are considered less relevant. 

For what specifically concerns digital skills, there are no significant discrepancies between the relevance of digital skills and their level of endowment for the three target groups. Enablers are the category of WISE workers who most need these skills. On the contrary, WSNs require little digital skills to carry out their work activities and digital skills seem to be more relevant in their private life activities rather than at work. 

As for technical and soft skills, there is room for improvement of digital skills for the three target groups. However, a difficulty in finding training initiatives for bridging these gaps has been detected, especially for WSNs.

Development trends and challenges

In all the countries where they operate, WISEs have demonstrated their ability to tackle key problems of labour exclusion affecting contemporary economies that traditional labour market policies had proved unable to tackle. In spite of their success, WISEs potential is still far from being harnessed. 

WISE visibility has increased significantly over the past decades and new laws recognizing WISEs – especially via legal statuses – have been adopted in a growing number of EU MSs. Noteworthy is also the trend of recognising WISEs via cooperative legislation adjustment, which is diffused in countries distinguished by a longstanding cooperative tradition. 

The scarce development of ex lege WISEs in some countries can be traced back to two main factors:  the insufficient degree of engagement of WISEs in law-making processes and the policy-makers’ incapacity to identify all types of organizations that may be considered WISEs.

All in all, there is a trend towards the broadening of WISEs target groups: in the past, PWDs were the only group conceived as disadvantaged while in more recent times, the concept of disadvantage has been progressively enlarged so as to include a broader set of vulnerable workers. 

Another key trend development detected is that, over the past decade, the domains of engagement of WISEs have progressively broadened towards fields – such as those related to ICT, culture and the management of cultural heritage – with a higher added value.

Analysis confirms however that to fully exploit the added value of WISEs, a more enabling environment is needed. In particular, there is a need for more enabling public schemes and policies. New market access opportunities for WISEs are nevertheless emerging from the 2014 EU Directives on public procurement. 

Innovative strategies are being moreover experimented by some WISEs with a view to improve their integration capacity. Among the most innovative, collaborations between WISEs and conventional enterprises are becoming a widespread strategy in some countries also as part of particular legal and/or policy schemes, such as quota systems. Worth mentioning is also the tendency to build networks that group WISEs together. 

When it comes to skills development, WISEs face specific challenges. The level of skills endowment of the three groups of workers targeted by the empirical analysis seems to be rather good. However, data show that there is substantial room for improvement and failure to fill these skills gaps could jeopardize WISEs’ capacity to assist current and/or new WSNs. Training activities are considered particularly important, but the lack of time and resources – especially in small WISEs – to be allocated to training hinders training attendance. As regards specifically WSNs, targeted training, planned on the basis of their needs and capabilities, is needed.

Considering digital skills, results show that there are no significant discrepancies between their relevance and the level of endowment for the three target groups. Worth noting is that for WSNs specifically, digital skills seem to acquire a higher relevance in private life activities compared with work activities.  

Another important tendency emerged is that the level of digitization is higher in larger WISEs. However, technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, rapid prototyping and assistive technology are considered as less relevant and therefore are rarely used within WISEs. Nevertheless, those are important technologies, mainly for the adaptation of WSNs’ individual workplaces, and their potential should be fully-exploited by WISEs.

 

The B-WISE project, Blueprint for Sectoral Cooperation on Skills in Work Integration Social Enterprises, is an Erasmus + project coordinated by EASPD with the support of ENSIE.


Activity report of year 2022

We have had an eventful and emotionally difficult year. Global events have required us to rethink our priorities and adapt our activities to help those who need it the most. But 2022 was the year when more than any other years we have seen the dedication, sincerity and ability of social entrepreneurs to mobilise for a greater good.
That is why Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia (SEAL) has worked continuously to ensure that social enterprises have an increasingly favourable environment, support mechanisms and opportunities to grow. We continue to develop social entrepreneurship in Latvia for a long-term impact by working in three main areas – public awareness, capacity building, and advocacy. Take a look at the highlights of the past year!

Most important events in 2022

Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia in cooperation with Luminor bank implemented a free of charge social entrepreneurship development programme “IMPACT ACADEMY” for the first time in Latvia. Companies, associations and business idea authors who were already active in social entrepreneurship and wanted to develop their organisation or idea took part in the programme.

Social entrepreneurship pitch competition “LET THE GOOD IDEAS GROW” has become a tradition, it was organised for the fourth year in a row. This year the competition was held in cooperation with Luminor bank, selecting two winners, each of whom received EUR 2000 in prize money. 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 broadcast live on news portal Delfi.lv.
The 2022 awards went to:
🏆 Jury – the association “Gaismas laiva” project “Created for Movement”
🏆 Audience vote – the Youth centre TUVU in Brankas
🏆 ALTUM Sympathy Award – Ilze Šarna, Mobile Duck Herd
🏆 Rimi Latvia sympathy award – Kristīne Jacino, Jacinobooks

Advocacy

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

The highlights of 2022:

  • On the recommendation of the Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia, Ukrainian civilians have been identified as a group of people at risk of social exclusion under the Social Enterprise Law. Social enterprises create significant social impact by employing target groups or improving the quality of life of groups whose lives are affected by problems of major importance to society. The new changes foresee that one of the target groups may also include Ukrainian civilians.
  • For the first time, a social entrepreneurship grant competition was held in close partnership of five municipalities situated around Riga – Marupe, Sigulda, Kekava, Olaine and Ropazi. The association was involved in the organisation of the competition, participating in the jury and evaluating the best social entrepreneurship ideas.
  • In autumn 2022, Regita Zeiļa, the director of the Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia, and Inga Muižniece, head of the social enterprise Sonido and SEAL council member, met with representatives of political parties to identify planned activities at national level, as well as to discuss recommendations and real actions to be taken to develop social entrepreneurship environment. As a result, the development of social entrepreneurship was included as a national priority in the Government’s declaration.

SEAL is active in advocacy not only at national level, but also at European level. SEAL is a member of several international social entrepreneurship networks – ENSIE, EUCLID and DIESIS, which enables it to advocate on a wider scale.
In 2022 for the first time in Latvia, the European Social Enterprise Monitor (ESEM) was conducted to gather data on the social entrepreneurship area in Latvia. SEAL collected data from Latvian entrepreneurs in cooperation with the Ministry of Welfare and the social entrepreneurship accelerator New Door and Reach for Change, and produced a report on the compilation of the data.

Among the major international events, the European Economic and Social Committee’s annual civil society conference “Civil Society Days” was held in Brussels. Regita Zeila, director of SEAL, was invited as one of the high-level panel experts to share her experience on social entrepreneurship, social impact and building strong communities.

Developing the member community

Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia has 146 members. The biggest part of the members are social enterprises, part of the members are social entrepreneurs and other interested parties – associations, foundations, limited liability companies without social enterprise status and individuals. 19 new members joined the community during 2022.

Becoming a member of SEAL provides an opportunity to become a part of an organisation that defends the interests of social entrepreneurs, as well as to meet like-minded people, build new collaborations, stay informed about the most important developments in the sector and more to initiate new projects or thematic working groups.

The highlights of 2022:

  • 13 face-to-face networking events for members on various topics – networking for work integration social enterprises, networking for enterprises working in the education sector, and meetings with a focus on social impact management.
  • Our members had the opportunity to participate in the Conversation Festival “LAMPA” as speakers free of charge, gaining extensive publicity opportunities. 3 social entrepreneurs shared their stories of failure titled “We wanted to save the world – oh well we didn’t!” – social enterprise “Intelekta attīstības centrs”, “4 Vēji” and “Nature Horses”.
  • 22 free of charge individual consultations with various experts on how members can adapt and develop their offer in the tourism sector were provided. The consultations were led by professionals in the field, each on their own topic, ranging from offer development to marketing.
  • This year we published both smaller and larger summaries of offers from our members on social media. The two largest of these are the Christmas gift offer and the Summer gift offer. Smaller summaries for the spring and autumn school holidays, the 18th November celebrations, company news, volunteering opportunities, as well as periodic job vacancies were also produced.
  • We organised various special opportunities for members – participation in international projects in Georgia, France, Estonia and Serbia. We provided the opportunity to sell their goods free of charge at Agenskalns Christmas Market. We arranged exclusive entrance tickets or discounts to events on a daily basis.

Public awareness

It is essential to raise the awareness of the importance of the topic to the wider society for social entrepreneurship to thrive. That is why SEAL organises public lectures and workshops, gets involved in events organised by other organisations, provides advice to those interested in social entrepreneurship and sends out newsletters on the latest developments.

The highlights of 2022:

  • Conference “Integration of ex-prisoners into society and the labour market” and information on social entrepreneurship as an effective tool for re-socialisation
  • Lectures on social entrepreneurship in schools and universities – Rezekne State Polish Gymnasium, Riga Secondary School No. 64 and Banking University
  • Participation in a discussion on environmental accessibility and social entrepreneurship in Liepāja, as well as their opportunities for improving environmental accessibility, organised by the association “Radi Vidi Pats”
  • Lecture on the importance of youth involvement in social entrepreneurship at the event “Young people and social entrepreneurship – informative event and discussion” organised by the Centre for Social Innovation
  • Workshop for active organisations and citizens of Talsi region on cooperation with municipalities and social enterprises
  • Informative event “Social Entrepreneurship in Limbazi Region”
  • Practical orientation seminar “All about and around social entrepreneurship” at Dobele Adult Education and Entrepreneurship Support Centre
  • Presentations to Local Action Groups on the current issues of social entrepreneurship and its inclusion in the strategies of Local Action Groups
  • Participation in the Public Integration Foundation discussion “Gender Equality. Opportunity for business growth?”
  • Participation in the discussion on Social Impact Management (Venue – Riga, European Union House)
  • Presentation at the largest CEO conference “EBIT”

We have created 3 podcast series with social entrepreneurs:

  • Elīna Novada, representing the social enterprise “Svaigi”, shared her experience of running Svaigi.lv, the importance of social enterprise status, creating social impact and the challenges of promoting healthy lifestyles,
  • Diāna Elekse, representing the social enterprise “Ulubele”, spoke about the social impact created, which can be measured in the warm stories of adoption and shelter visitors,
  • Arnis Vējš, representing the social enterprise “4 vēji”, talked about the satisfaction that comes from involving people with mental disabilities in the labour market and what qualities an entrepreneur must have to be able to do this.

We organised a meeting with academics who teach courses on social entrepreneurship at universities in Latvia. There are already two study programmes dedicated to social entrepreneurship in Latvia and many more courses for business and management students, as well as for social workers, which provide an early introduction to the field. During the meeting we discussed challenges and opportunities for development, learning materials and objectives. We summarised the study opportunities in a single article.

International cooperation

The international dimension has also been well represented this year, with various projects both providing opportunities for our members to participate in exchanges and developing valuable materials for use in their daily work.

The highlights of 2022:

  • The International Social Entrepreneurship Conference was held in Serbia;
  • LOCAL-Y-MPACT partner countries – Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, Portugal and Cyprus – and their representative organisations organised an exchange visit in Latvia, Talsi, and Portugal, Braga, to learn from each other about good practices in cooperation between NGOs, social enterprises and local authorities;
  • France, the Council Member of SEAL Inga Muižniece learned about the principles of work integration social enterprises and local regulations for their operation;
  • Estonia, the final event of the BALTIC-YOUTH-IMPACT project – a training on social impact management using the tools developed during the project;
  • This year, in cooperation with the Georgian Social Enterprise Alliance and the Georgian Regional Institute for Sustainability Development, we explored ways to promote social entrepreneurship in the tourism sector within the project “Development of Social Entrepreneurs in the Tourism Sector”, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia. As part of the project, SEAL’s members had the opportunity to travel to Georgia and learn from the experience of local businesses.

During the international projects SEAL has developed training materials that will be useful for both social enterprises and NGOs to take the first steps in managing social impact and building partnerships with other organisations, businesses and local governments.

Thank you for your cooperation and see you in 2023!


What are the skills needed for work integration social enterprises' workers?

Various skills are needed for WISEs workers (enablers, managers and workers with support needs), here are the highlights of the report.

One of the research activities led in the framework of work package 1 was to map skills needs and gaps in WISEs across the 13 project partner countries. It was led in the form of an empirical analysis to map the skills needed to perform the jobs and fill the skills gaps in WISEs, with a view to profiling the training requirements of three main professional profiles, namely “enablers” (e.g., managers, area coordinators, IT specialists ); “supporters” (e.g., job coaches, tutors, and mentors) and and workers with support needs (WSNs)*. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 403 persons (89 enablers, 145 supporters, and 169 WSNs) from a sample of around 100 WISEs in 13 countries across the EU. The investigation analyzed the available skills deemed as the most relevant for the above mentioned categories of workers and skills gaps. In addition, the reasons for such skills gaps, their effects on WISEs, and the strategies put in place to cope with them were examined. 

The skills needs and skills gaps analysis highlighted four key findings.

First, the survey showcased that WISEs face specific challenges when compared to conventional companies. The level of skills endowment of all three respondent groups was rather good, with enablers and supporters particularly well aware of the broad set of skills needed to work in WISEs. The data analysis did not highlight any significant difference across countries, but it confirmed there is substantial room for improvement. Failing to fill skills gaps is regarded as particularly risky since it could jeopardize WISEs’ capacity to assist current and/or new WSNs and lead to an increased workload for staff. In other words, skills gaps could hinder the process of work integration. 

Second, the various groups of respondents chose specific skills as particularly relevant. Enablers rated management skills as highly important: from designing strategies for the development of WISEs and making decisions to engaging in direct relations with employees to coordinate their activities and motivate them. Among other skills, negotiating with clients, especially private ones, was perceived as highly relevant. Supporters pointed out the multifaceted nature of work as they deal with a variety of activities, including planning work time and space, assisting and supporting WSNs in carrying out their tasks, and managing and reporting activities to their supervisors and coordinators. A mix of hard and soft skills is required, the balance of which also varies according to the specific role assumed by a supporter within an organization. However, what clearly emerged is that “assisting workers with support needs for their job” is crucial when looking at supporters. Interviews highlighted that counseling and mentoring activities, in some cases, aim to stimulate workers in their own growth at work: they favor a positive atmosphere and even touch on some personal aspects that impact work. Some interviewees felt that they have received all the necessary tools to manage the support and counseling of WSNs. There were cases in which a lack of training related to psychological aspects of the job, as well as the diverse typologies of workers’ disabilities, influenced the effectiveness of supporters’ activities. Finally, “collaborative, communicative and operational skills” were essential for WSNs to carry out day-to-day work activities with accuracy, precision, and autonomy. The importance of specific skills depended on the type of economic activity carried out, which in the sample interviewed ranged from manufacturing to administrative/office activities, catering, and waste management.

Third, when looking at enablers’ skills, the age of the organization makes a difference. Start-up WISEs need to build new skills to recruit the most suitable staff and develop effective working teams, while in more structured WISEs, the development of organizational and decision-making strategies comes to the fore. 

Finally, from a comparative viewpoint, all three respondent groups considered specialized technical knowledge related to media and technology as not relevant; this can be traced back to the key role played by soft skills and other technical knowledge necessary to assist workers in carrying out their job tasks in WISEs. 

Against the background of addressing skills gaps, respondents consider training activities particularly important. Based on their answers, training is primarily financed by WISEs’ own resources: most WISEs provide for training internally or support employees’ participation in external training. 

Looking at the reasons behind skills gaps, enablers and supporters expressed similar opinions by identifying the shortage of economic resources as a very important factor and the lack of motivation as the least relevant reason. To tackle the scarcity of resources, one strategy is to support WISEs’ access to private funding schemes by encouraging their desire for collaboration via mutually supportive mechanisms. 

An additional obstacle to filling skills gaps is the lack of time, which is typically a barrier in relation to training activities in small organizations. WISEs, especially when they are small in size, struggle to detach personnel from their required work activities. In these situations, training carried out within the organizations and combining both theoretical and practical activities can help WISEs overcome this problem. 

Moreover, according to respondents, it is particularly difficult to identify the optimal training activities to improve supporters’ and WSNs’ abilities. Indeed, training activities may be stressful, especially for WSNs, when they are not fully tailored to address their specific skills gaps. Thus, it is important to invest time and energy in adapting training and education to the specific needs of recipients. Hence, individualized and targeted training designed and planned based on workers’ real needs and capabilities is crucial.

Finally, the findings of the survey underline the importance of further research on both the content and modalities of training., which will be done later in the B-WISE project.

Read the full report HERE.

 

The B-WISE project, Blueprint for Sectoral Cooperation on Skills in Work Integration Social Enterprises, is an Erasmus + project coordinated by EASPD with the support of ENSIE.


* E.g., people with physical and/or sensory disabilities; people with intellectual and/or learning disabilities; people with psycho-social disabilities and/or mental illness; people with substance use disorders; convicts and ex-convicts; people on long-term unemployment; homeless people; asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants; NEETs; female survivors of violence and members of ethnic minorities.


Technology and digital skills gaps in work integration social enterprises

This article focuses on technology, digitisation and digital skills of WISEs in the 13 B-WISE participating countries. It summarises the results of 403 face-to-face and 175 online surveys carried out between October and December 2021. For a more comprehensive report (English), please consult chapter 7 of the “Report on trends and challenges for work integration social enterprises (WISEs) in Europe. Current situation of skills gaps, especially in the digital area.

Relevance of technology and digitisation for WISEs

Based on the surveys filled out by enablers (e.g., manager, area coordinators, and ICT specialists) we can state that:

  • The digitisation of management processes (e.g. cloud computing services and e-invoicing) is the most significant domain in which WISEs apply technologies and digitisation processes.
  • The second important domain is the digitisation of standardised production processes (e.g. ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software packages).
  • In addition, the technological adaptation of individual workplaces is considered less relevant today and in the future.
  • Artificial Intelligence (including big data and Internet of Things), rapid prototyping and assistive technologies are rarely used.
  • Large WISEs reach in almost all cases a higher level of digitisation. As a consequence, scale will be an important factor for WISEs if they want to take further steps towards digitisation and towards the implementation of technologies.

Enablers: relevance of digital skills, needs and gaps

In the face-to-face survey targeting enablers, the relevance and the level of endowment of digital skills of the enablers in their WISE (their own digital skills and those of colleagues with a similar role) were questioned. Five competence areas were investigated in this survey: (i) management of digital content and data literacy; (ii) communication and collaboration through digital technologies; (iii) creation and editing of digital content; (iv) addressing safety issues in digital environments; and (v) solving digital problems. The survey shows following results:

  • No significant discrepancies between the relevance of digital skills for enablers (upper table) and the level of endowment (lower table).
  • According to enablers, all competence areas are relevant for enablers.
  • This goes together with the level of endowment.

Supporters: relevance of digital skills, needs and gaps

To get a clear impression of the digital skills of supporters (e.g. job coaches, trainers), the survey for enablers included a judgement on the relevance and the level of endowment of the digital skills of the supporters in their WISE. The survey shows following results:

  • According to enablers, following competence areas are most relevant for supporters:
    • management of digital content and data literacy;
    • communication and collaboration through digital technologies.
  • According to enablers, 9.7% of supporters have no digital skills, 24.7% have a low level, 30.4% a basic level and 22% an above basic level of digital skills.
  • For the two competence areas considered as most relevant for supporters, over 60% of supporters have a level of endowment that is basic or above basic (no significant discrepancies between relevance and level of endowment).

Moreover, the face-to-face survey addressed to supporters included a self-assessment, collecting information on the use of digital skills at work and at home. Supporters were asked if they performed a certain action (at work or at home) during the last three months. The self-assessment covered six categories: information skills, communication skills, problem-solving skills (A “Basic” and B “Advanced”), and software skills for content manipulation (A and B). Based on the survey results, we can state that:

  • Supporters use and need digital skills both at work and at home.
  • Although the use and importance of digital skills at work is high, supporters use more digital skills at home.
  • Only basic and advanced software skills for content manipulation (e.g. word processing software, spreadsheet software or software to edit photos, videos or audio files) are more frequently applied at work.

Workers with support needs: relevance of digital skills, needs and gaps

To map the digital skills of workers with support needs, the survey addressed to supporters included a judgement on the relevance and the level of endowment of the digital skills of the supporters in their WISE. The survey shows following results:

  • Overall, according to supporters, digital skills are not very relevant for workers with support needs at work.
  • According to supporters, following competence areas are most relevant for workers with support needs:
    • management of digital content and data literacy;
    • communication and collaboration through digital technologies.
  • According to supporters, 13.8% of workers with support needs have no digital skills, 28% a low level, 24.6% a basic level and 7.7% an above basic level of digital skills.
  • According to supporters, there are no significant digital skills gaps among workers with support needs: relevance and level of endowment go hand in hand.

The face-to-face survey addressed to workers with support needs included the same self-assessment as the one inserted in the survey targeting supporters, covering the same six categories of digital skills. Workers with support needs were asked if they performed a certain action (at work or at home) during the last three months. Based on the survey results, we can state that, overall, workers with support needs use significantly fewer digital skills at work than at home.

Digital skills training

  • Most WISEs interviewed do not provide training on digital skills themselves. Nevertheless, there are some exceptions: more than 50% of the WISEs interviewed in Austria, France, Spain and the Netherlands organise training on digital skills themselves.
  • The larger the WISEs, the more likely they will provide training on digital skills.
  • Among the three target groups, the main beneficiaries of training initiatives on digital skills are enablers, while the participation of workers with support needs in training activities aimed at improving their proficiency on digital skills is lower.
  • The fact that the level of endowment of digital skills is high for enablers shows that the current training initiatives meet their needs.
  • Overall, a limited share of the WISEs interviewed (16.9%) have established partnerships with other local/regional organisations to promote external training initiatives for WSNs.

Relevance of digital skills, needs, gaps and training: conclusions

  • Considering digital skills, there are no significant discrepancies between the relevance of digital skills and the level of endowment for the three target groups.
  • Enablers need most digital skills at work, consequently there are more training initiatives targeting enablers. These initiatives meet the needs of enablers, given that their level of endowment of digital skills matches the relevance of the skills.
  • Supporters need digital skills to a certain level and their level of endowment is considered basic or above basic for the skills they need most.
  • Finally, it can be noted that workers with support needs require little digital skills at work, this also matches with their level of endowment. Moreover, there are little training initiatives for workers with support needs. The workers do not need digital skills at work, but the self-assessment shows that they do use digital skills at home. This raises the questions if WISEs should pay more attention to the need for digital skills in other contexts, outside of the working environment.

 

The B-WISE project, Blueprint for Sectoral Cooperation on Skills in Work Integration Social Enterprises, is an Erasmus + project coordinated by EASPD with the support of ENSIE.


Meaningful Christmas gifts from social entrepreneurs

This is the right place to look for meaningful gifts - we've gathered our members' offers for Christmas gifts - from corporate gifts to different experiences, what will be the best gift for loved ones! Do good by giving responsibly!

Find the one that's right for you - we've divided the offer into thematic sections: "To create a festive feeling", "For events", "Corporate gifts", "Gifts for loved ones", "Caring for your health", "Experience a s a gift", "Hobby as a gift", "Gifts for coming together, "Environmentally responsible" "Educational gifts", as well as offering the opportunity to do good deeds instead of buying a gift!

From home decor, crockery collections, corporate gifts, event space rental, and special offers just for Christmas!

TO CREATE A FESTIVE FEELING

"TUVU" CHARITY SHOP - a place to hunt for the best decors

Shoppers at "Tuvu" charity shops have the opportunity to buy not only clothes, shoes, crockery and household goods, but also gifts for their loved ones and to prepare for the festive season by buying some special décor to create the mood, as well as to create a feast for another family or a lonely person by buying these items, as all profits from the shops go to charity projects. At Christmas time, we will surprise families in need with gifts. Other charity projects will continue - working with parents and young people in need, renovating homes in crisis situations, camps and events for young people, helping lonely people.

❄️Find out more: www.biedribatuvu.lv
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Address: Pasta iela 51, Jelgava

CHARITY SHOPS "OTRĀ ELPA" - everything for the holidays

In "Otrās elpa" shops you can find a variety of decorations to create a festive mood, as well as nice value-added gifts for your loved ones. Starting in 2019, the profits of the charity shop network will be donated to the Children's Hospital Foundation and the Children's Clinical University Hospital's organ donor programme to build up emergency savings, thus providing important support to families with children in need of organ transplants outside Latvia. "With every purchase and donation, Second Breath customers give children a chance to live!

❄️Find out more: www.otraelpa.lv

CHARITY SHOPS "HOPEN" - unique products you won't find anywhere else!

HOPEN Charity Shop is a great place to find Christmas gifts you won't find anywhere else! Here you will find candle holders, crockery, vases, design items, children's items. For home furnishing we offer furniture, paintings, lamps, textiles and household goods. There is a wide selection of clothing, shoes and accessories. Profits are donated to charity. Shop and donate!
HOPEN charity shops in Ogre, Skolas iela 18, Riga, Jēkabpils, Viestura iela 7A, Āgenskalns, Mazā Nometņu iela 32 and Imanta, Kurzemes prospekts 132a.

❄️Find out more: www.hopen.lv

GLASS POINT - exquisite decorations for your Christmas tree!

GLASS POINT offers glass snowflakes for the festive Christmas tree. The glass snowflakes were designed by artist Anna Varnese, who has managed to catch the moment and fuse the fragile, light and just like snow - icy clear snowflake in glass! The snowflake set contains 10 snowflakes made from recycled glass, namely glass frit. This is powdered glass from broken glass sheets that are no longer usable as a material for creating products, yet are the perfect artistic solution for creating glass snowflakes!

❄️Order here: 📧

TYPICAL LATVIAN - Christmas tree ornament sets with crystals

This year Typical Latvian offers Christmas tree decorations painted on both sides with dots! 100% handmade and limited edition.
In the e-shop you will find:
🎄 Christmas tree ornament set with crystals "Glitter" - artificial crystals make the ornaments glow in candle or lamplight, the black colour makes them not only elegant but also highlights the patterns on them.
🎄 Christmas tree ornament set "Joy" - colourful ornaments will bring joy every time you look at the tree. The ornaments are painted on both sides but in different ways, giving the impression that there are more ornaments on the tree.
❗️ Importantly, no two sets of ornaments are the same, so your tree will have special ornaments!
🎄 In addition to the ornaments, you can buy a pocket-sized notebook in the same style, waiting for the poet's quatrains on its pages. We will also be delighted to see quotations written by a book-lover or notes observed in everyday life. If you recognise yourself or a friend in these lines, this could make a lovely festive gift!

❄️Buy in e-ashop: www.typicalpostcards.eu
or write a message: 📧

ĀAGENSKALNA MARKET - Christmas markets

First Christmas markets at the renovated Agenskalns Market! This year, from November 24 to December 31, little surprises and discoveries await at every turn of the Christmas market - unexpected flavours, intriguing stories and personalities, traders from all over Latvia, freshly baked gingerbread, hot drinks, warm knitwear and original gifts. Spend time with family and friends chatting over mulled wine, enjoy lunch or brunch in the 2nd floor cafes and soak up the market and Christmas atmosphere all month long!

❄️Find out more: www.facebook.com/Atirgus
The market is located at 64 Nometņu Street, Riga

FREE RIGA - Wishkaļi Christmas market

🎄 Apply for the WISHKAĻI Christmas Market! From 10 to 11 December, the WISHKAALI Unseen Things Design Market will take place in Viscagli. If you create, make, design, paint, sew or carve, this market is for you - take part and show what you can put on the table!
Apply here https://ej.uz/gribuwishkali
If you don't feel like trading, head to the Institute for Quality of Life and Design, 36a Viskaļi Street, on 10 and 11 December to shop for yourself!

❄️Find out more: www.facebook.com/FREERIGA
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FOR EVENTS

BRANKU BRANČOTAVA - a welcoming place for your events!

Only 39 kilometres from Riga, Branku Brančotava is waiting for you in Brankas, Ozolnieki municipality. It is a place for your celebrations and work, offering 180 m2 of space divided into two parts. For various events we offer a hall that can accommodate up to 150 people. Our "badge" is the glass walls, which give the rooms a light and cosy atmosphere during the day and a romantic feeling in the evenings. We've taken care of EVERYTHING, all you have to do is turn up! All profits go to the charity projects organised by "Tuvu", which you can find out more about HERE.

❄️Find out more: www.facebook.com/brankubrancotava
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📞 +371 22842016

 

CORPORATE GIFTS

SVAIGI.LV - gift baskets from local farms

When you receive a gift, a special story is placed in your lap. It combines the best of Latvian farmers' products and craftsmen's work. Behind every product there is a real owner! Our own! This year, our gift story has a special place for dreams. We will prepare gift sets according to each company's needs, changing or adding to them, wrapping them in a gift box with a box, filling them with decorative shavings and binding them with ribbon matching the company's colours. We will deliver to the office or to each recipient individually.

❄️ Buy gifts: www.svaigi.lv
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📞 +371 24335225

ORNANDUM - tableware printing and sustainable promotional items

"Ornandum" invites companies to promote their brand, attract new customers and strengthen employee loyalty with sustainable promotional items and printed tableware that have the added value of quality printing with a design created especially for you.

❄️Find out more: www.ornandum.lv
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📞+371 28641536

RB CAFE - delicacies made with love

RB Cafe offers excellent pastries and makes and wraps gingerbread, biscuits and truffles beautifully at Christmas. A great gift for loved ones and as a corporate gift. RB Cafe is a special place for special people and the delicacies are prepared by people with disabilities. In addition, RB Cafe offers catering services at events and will provide great coffee breaks, lunches and dinners! RB Cafe is currently no longer open, but all orders can be placed by Facebook or email!

❄️Find out more: www.facebook.com/RBCafeRiga/
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r

VISI VAR - handicrafts made by socially vulnerable groups

The charity shop "Visi Var" is a social enterprise founded by the association "Cerību spārni" to promote employment for people with disabilities, their relatives and socially vulnerable groups. Every single thing we create is made with great care, with genuine love and gratitude for the opportunity to work and spend time in a meaningful way. So when you buy our products, you are truly supporting an extraordinary person's dream of an independent life.
In our shop you will find beautiful and useful things for everyday life and for celebrations for yourself or your loved ones. Our sewing service creates beautiful and quality clothing for adults and children, as well as a variety of textiles for the home. In the ceramics workshops, people create beautifully shaped and designed vessels. In the candle workshops, love is poured into each candle, warming it as soon as it is lit. Woodworking is a new and proud activity, where our guys polish each thing they make to ensure it is of good quality and useful. You may also find the warmest wool socks in our shop, because each stitch is knitted with gratitude. And more, and more!

❄️Buy here: visivar.lv  or visit in person:
Adress: Institūta street 5a, Sigulda.

Arte Pastry - original chocolate sweets

Take a bite into our old-fashioned chocolate bars and you’ll be transported to the days when passion was still in vogue. We use only premium ingredients, such as single origin cocoa beans from around the world - some say it is even better than what they were growing themselves! We combine traditional techniques with modern flavours for an exciting taste experience like no other

❄️Buy here: www.artepastry.com

 

GIFTS FOR LOVED ONES

IMANTS ZIEDONS FOUNDATION "VIEGLI" - books, music and souvenirs

The Imants Ziedonis Foundation's "Viegli" e-shop is a convenient, fast and handy place to buy books, music recordings and souvenirs published by the Foundation. As the "Viegli" Foundation is a cultural NGO, by purchasing anything from the Foundation's e-shop, everyone supports the activities and projects of the Ziedonis Museum and Library and "Ziedonis Class".

❄️Buy here: fondsviegli.lv

TIPTIP.LV - gifts made by seniors and people with disabilities

This year, www.tiptip.lv offers Christmas gifts made by Latvian seniors and people with disabilities - knitwear, leather and paper products, wicker weavings, candles, dishes, jewellery, toys, greeting cards and much more - almost 2000 items in total, created by more than 50 socially disadvantaged people.
Each purchase will be gift-wrapped and will come with a short story about the maker, who will receive a self-determined price for your purchase. This way, you will have the joy of giving and receiving, while knowing that you have financially supported the author of the work - a Latvian senior or a person with a disability - this Christmas. Individual and corporate orders are possible!

❄️Buy here: tiptip.lv 

SOS CHILDREN'S VILLAGES - send a card and support a SOS Children's Village!

Handwritten greetings are special. This year, they will be appreciated even more than before by family, friends and business partners. You can still buy, write and send a lovely greeting! Take a look at the beautiful Christmas cards created by children from SOS Children's Villages and our artist friends.

❄️Buy here: sosbernuciemati.lv.

DESIGN ELEVATOR - coloring posters

DESIGN ELEVATOR presents giant colouring posters created by its subsidiary Kano Editions. Together with talented illustrators from all over the world, the company creates high-quality, ecologically and socially responsible colouring posters. The posters are suitable for children to colour individually or as a family activity.

🎄 High-quality illustrations - each illustrator demonstrates their own unique vision and brings their characters into the world. Currently, 2 Latvian and 3 Ukrainian illustrators have created posters.
🎄 For different ages - some of the posters are specially designed for little ones, but there are also some that adults will love to colour!
🎄 Sustainability - 100% biodegradable product and packaging. Printed with vegetable inks.
🎄 Giving back - 10% of profits are donated to charity, supporting projects and initiatives chosen by the illustrators. We also employ people with disabilities and work with a day centre for people with disabilities for quality control and packaging of illustrations.

❄️Order here: www.kanoeditions.com
Enter code LSUA2022 and get 20% discount on purchases made before 26.12.2022!

AD ASTRA COACHING - You can! Book

Support your child on the path to their dreams! YOU CAN! is a step-by-step planner for the whole family, helping you to discover yourself and your superpowers, to dream bold dreams and to learn how to make them happen.

❄️Order here: www.esvaru.lv
📧
hello@esvaru.lv

ENGINEERING FOR CHILDREN - educational books for children

The author, Kristīne Jacino, is a PhD in food engineering with many years of experience in the food industry. She is the creator of the "Professor Jacino" brand, founded the company "Engineering for children" and creates and develops diverse, interactive and entertaining educational projects for children.
The Professor Jacino books will make a great gift for children:
🎄"Where does milk come from?" A step-by-step account of the milk's journey from the goat to our kitchen,
🎄 "Where does rye bread come from?" how rye bread gets from the cornfield to our kitchen,
🎄"Where do sausages and sausages come from?" tells us how sizzlers and sausages get to our kitchen.

❄️Order here: www.professorjacino.com
📧
 

BURBUĻU SPĒLES - bubble blowing kit for learning the alphabet

The bubble blowing set "Burtiņburbuļi" is an opportunity to learn the letters of the Latvian alphabet in a different way! By blowing soap bubbles, you can learn the alphabet and boost your speech articulation skills. Bubble games are a stimulator for speech development, allowing the child to think, encourage action or react to a situation. Bubble games motivate children to initiate communication, conversation, learn letters and increase vocabulary. Bubble Games Ltd was founded with the aim of helping children develop their speech and language skills.

❄️Order here: burbuluspeles.lv
📧

4 VĒJI - individually made soaps

The 4 VĒJI (4 WINDS) soap is created to support the employment of people with disabilities. They come in different shapes and colours and all use natural additives. The soaps are handmade and we put our love and craftsmanship into each piece. Due to the nature of handmade soap, the weight of the soap is approximate, as soap shapes are available in different variations.

❄️To order, send a note: facebook.com/socialais.uznemums.4veji
Find out more: www.4veji.lv
📞+371 29345720

 

CARING FOR YOUR HEALTH

Correcty - posture-correcting T-shirt

Take care of yourself and your loved ones with a Correcty posture correcting t-shirt that will give you confidence and help you fight bad posture! The Correcty T-shirt features a special corrective circuit which, when the shoulders are hunched forward, contracts back more strongly than in other places like a spring and reminds you to keep your shoulders straight.  Correcty is a passive back exercise, because only the muscles in the stretching form the correct posture! Correcty will help to train your back muscle memory, prevent pain, tightness and incorrect spinal postures, and help you to breathe easier.

❄️Order here: www.correcty.eu

DZĪVĪBAS POGA - care for seniors

The Life Button (Dzīvības poga) is a remote alert system that keeps you connected to your loved ones in unexpected situations that may require medical attention. The Life Button ensures that qualified personnel are on hand in case of an emergency, for example when a loved one is injured or cannot call for help at all times. Available as a bracelet or pendant, the Life Button is always close by, unlike a telephone.

❄️Order here: dzivibaspoga.lv/pasutit
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NGO "GAISMAS LAIVA" - thermal raincoats

For many, winter is one of their favourite times of the year, but for people with reduced mobility, it's full of challenges - uncleared and impassable pavements, muddy wheelchair wheels, wet snow... brrr...
Light Boat develops raincoats that are practical, waterproof and all-season, suitable for winter wear. The sleeveless raincoat is comfortable to wear and doesn't get caught in ruts, and also has reflective design elements to protect in twilight weather, making it more visible on the road.

Be safe and protected from moisture to roll forward with purpose! 🎯

🤝 Support us by donating to give a kit to someone who needs it most! If you are a company, organisation or association, contact us and buy our products for your disabled people to make everyday life easier and keep you safe outdoors when you are in a wheelchair!

❄️To order, send a message:
Find out more: gaismaslaiva.com | www.gl-development.lv

 

EXPERIENCE AS A GIFT

GLŪDAS MĀJ-SKOLA - creative workshops for children

By giving homemade gifts, we share the best of our hearts!
Glūdas mājskola (Gluda Home School) invites children to learn various Christmas gift-making workshops that will enable them to prepare presents for their friends, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters. Together we will make unique fabric shopping bags, glass and wooden tree ornaments, large gingerbread houses with decorations, greeting cards. During the class we will enjoy the special Gluda Homeschool cocoa and create a mood in the festive photo corner. Participation fee per child - 30 eur.

❄️Find out more: Glūdas māj-skola
📧
📞 +371 28382308

CCI TORŅAKALNS - gong meditation

How should we spend the time of waiting for the festive season to find peace within ourselves?
The Centre for Human Growth "Tornakalns" invites you to gong meditation classes! The gong is a sacred meditative instrument, thousands of years old, that has been used for centuries to heal the mind and body. Immersion in the healing vibrations of the gong helps to achieve deep relaxation, releases control of our mind and perceptions and allows us to become free from blockages on a physical, emotional and psychic level.
Gong meditation is usually done lying down to allow the body to relax completely. Bring a mat to lie on, a blanket to cover yourself with and a small pad for the headrest. If there are any health restrictions, it is possible to be seated during the meditation.
The classes are for people with and without experience in gong meditation. Gong meditation is under the guidance of gong meditation teacher Linda Straume.

❄️Find out more: www.izaugt.lv
Apply HERE

DABAS ZIRGI - walk with a horse

Where else better to enjoy adventure now than outdoors and in the fresh air! Dabas zirgi offers you a nice walk in the forest with one of our friendly horses! You will be able to choose which horse to walk with, cuddle it and feed it with carrots! Remember that the walk is done with the horse by your side!

❄️Find out more: www.dabaszirgi.lv
📧
i

THE INVISIBLE WORLD - interactive tours in the dark

Can you remember the last time you wondered about something? When, after visiting a new place, you remembered it and recommended it to your friends because the experience was amazing? You are invited to visit a very unusual museum - a museum in the dark, where you can't see the exhibitions, only feel them. A guide, for whom the lack of light is part of everyday life, will help you to navigate through all the rooms of the museum and to find your way in the dark. A tour in the dark - give this adventure to your friends!

❄️Find out more: www.neredzamapasaule.lv
📧
i

OPERET THEATRE - theatrical concert programme

On Saturday, 17 December, at 19:00 at the Balvi Culture and Leisure Centre and on Friday, 23 December, at 19:00 at the Valka City Culture House, a theatrical concert programme "Musique d'amour" ("Music of Love") by the Operetta Theatre will be performed. It will take you into the charming world of Viennese music, offering the audience music about love, music that we love and know, music that is made to delight and create celebrations. The concerts will feature opera divas Sonora Vaice (soprano) (17 December), Anta Jankovska (soprano/Italy), Laura Puren-Kancane (soprano), Patricia Kozlowska (soprano; Alfr. Kalniņa Cēsu Music Secondary School student), Kārlis Rūtentāls (tenor) (23 December), Guntars Ruņģis (tenor) (17 December), Dainis Kalnačs (tenor), NaurisIndzeris (baritone), violinist Raimonds Ozols and pianist Agija Ozoliņa-Kozlovska.

❄️FInd out more: www.operetesteatris.lv or www.operetesfonds.lv
Tickets can be purchased at the Biļešu paradīze box office and online.

 

HOBBY AS A GIFT

LABORATORIUM SCIENCE SCHOOL - online chemistry, physics and electronics lessons

Laboratorium Science School offers systematic classes in chemistry, physics and electronics for children and teenagers:
2nd-9th graders in chemistry and physics,
6th-12th graders in electronics,
10th-12th graders in chemistry.
During the lesson, the teacher explains the theoretical part using a presentation, and shows and performs experiments with the children. During the lesson, students can also see other members of the online group, share what they have already done and communicate with each other. It is a real lesson with a two-way connection as well as a feeling of satisfaction for the work done!

❄️Find out more: zinatnesskola.lv
📧
📞 +371 28804919

BJMK - your wings of growth in music

🎵 Start a new year with a new hobby!

BJMK gives children and young people the opportunity to fill their free time with quality time by learning a musical instrument, and to create an interest and appreciation for music in young people.
There are two ways to learn music and instruments at BJMK:
1) By attending individual lessons or small group lessons in an interest-based education format - this offer is available to all ages;
2) By enrolling in the BJMK Rock School and studying a vocational education programme alongside general education.

❄️Find out more: www.bmjk.lv
📧

BENEFICE DANCE SCHOOL - dance classes for all

Benefice Vocational School of Dance has created its own nest, a place for YOU to be after school, on weekends, when you want to dance and move.....come to us, it IS a place for YOU! There is a place for your professional development in 3 beautiful halls with mirrors, ballet bars, acrobatic equipment. There's a special dressing room for you and a place to celebrate, study or relax.
We welcome dancers from the age of 3 from December 1!

❄️Apply HERE
Find out more: www.benefice.lv

📧

ZVAIGZNĀJA KOMANDA - music lessons for kids

Give your child the chance to learn music!
The social enterprise "Star Constellation Team" offers group and individual lessons - vocal lessons, drum lessons, piano lessons and learning music production using Ableton, DJ school and songwriting!

❄️Find oute more: www.zvaigznajs.lv
📧

 

EDUCATIONAL GIFTS

BARBOLETA - balance platform for learning through movement

🎄Movement, joy of learning, efficiency.🎄

Warm, bright, family and FUN! Balance platforms are used as an innovative and effective tool for focusing attention, motivating, memorising information and boosting energy at work and in the learning process. Suitable for families with children from 1.5 years of age.
👉 Buy the Balance Platform and the user manual in the e-shop and help your child to concentrate better and learn with fun!

❄️Order here: www.barboleta.lv
 📧

INTELLECT DEVELOPMENT CENTRE - classes to improve cognitive abilities

The Intelligence Development Centre offers scientifically proven solutions to improve cognitive abilities in both children and adults using the biofeedback method.
Depending on the age of the child or young person, we carry out cognitive ability tests and discussions with parents before the sessions in order to design a personalised training programme and promote the development of skills and abilities through a variety of tasks. During the sessions, around 15 different skills are promoted and new skills are developed. These are basic skills that will help the child to better master the subject or any type of new knowledge.
ACTIVITIES:
Fine and gross motor exercises;
Bilateral exercises;
Attention and concentration exercises;
Numeracy or literacy exercises;
Training of auditory and visual attention through games.

❄️Find out more: www.intelektacentrs.lv
 📧

 

GIFTS FOR COMING TOGETHER

UPESLĪČI ATPŪTAI - "all included" offer

Looking for a great place for a family holiday?
Upeslīči offers an all-inclusive stay in a guest house, using the entire guest house and its spacious grounds as the only guest accommodation.
The offer includes:
🎁 Marinated meats and vegetables that you can cook yourself on the barbecue or a ready-made dinner,
🎁 We'll make a sauna for you and you can use our scrub,
🎁 We will also have a hot tub for you, where we will find the right essential oil for you to use in your hot tub ritual, and if you want to pamper your body, we will also add rose petals to the hot tub,
🎁 We offer quad biking, provided the weather is good and the track is passable,
🎁 In the morning we will have a special breakfast for you to enjoy on the veranda,
🎁 After breakfast we will introduce you to the alpacas, rabbits and sheep, so you can feed them and walk with the alpacas,
🎁 There will also be a small snack table throughout your stay, as well as a wide selection of teas and a coffee machine with specially roasted coffee.

❄️Find out more: www.upesliciatputai.lv
📧
📞 +371 28117861

SONIDO - give the gift of conversation!

Give the gift of time! One way to greet partners and friends in a meaningful way is to donate to the "Let's Talk" project, giving the gift of conversation to someone who feels lonely. Callers are listened to by Sonido staff with disabilities, sparking open conversations that help, heal and dispel loneliness.
Give the gift of a companion! If you know someone who longs for a conversation every day, but for some reason doesn't want to call the Let's Talk line - we can call them ourselves. All you have to do is choose the time and topic that will make them feel most comfortable.

❄️Donate on Mobilly platform
You can order gift vouchers by writing to: 📧

ESI/ - time together with emotional intelligence game books

We invite you to give the most precious gift you have - TIME TOGETHER. For your child, yourself, family and friends, 45 games as methods collected in one great book "be / GAMES for young and old". May the dark evenings become full of laughter, emotions, good thoughts and deeds. Let the family be united, develop mindfulness, empathy, communication and determination. The book gently and freely develops emotional and social intelligence - self-awareness, compassion, the ability to listen to others, resolve conflicts and work as a team.
This year, other books have also been added to the shelves of the online shop:
🔔 esi/ PAŠREGULĀCIJA - get to know and guide yourself
🔔 esi/ emociju spēles - what to do with difficult emotions?
🔔 esi/ emotionally and socially intelligent
🔔 esi/ INSPIRATION

❄️Order here: www.esicentrs.lv
📧

 

ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY

GLASS POINT - bottle cutting kit

A great opportunity to surprise your friends and family with design solutions created by recycling glass bottles! The Glass Bottle Cutting Kit is ready to go. Glass Point Studio has all the technical equipment you need, as well as video tips, to make your glass vases, glasses, candle holders or lamps. The creative process will result in handmade Christmas gifts, interior solutions and surprises for friends.

❄️Find out more: 📧

0 DESIGN - recycled paper and furnishing

At 0 design, we believe that sustainable design is a story of simplicity and long-term comfort. However, you still have the freedom to choose excellent taste. You still have the freedom to choose for yourself. Buy design items made with care for the environment using recycled paper - send letters on tasteful recycled paper or brighten up your interior with lampshades!

❄️Find out more: www.0design.lv

DONATION AND VOLUNTEERING OPPORTUNITIES

HOSPISS LV - support for terminally ill patients

No one wants to plan for a serious, incurable illness. It happens suddenly and we rely on the system, on pre-death care. The reality is that you end up at home without proper care, hoping for help from your peers, if you have any.
There is a certain notion that we would all like to die at home. In our own bed. 🛏
But is it? In your own bed, without being able to crane your head, to see the window?
A special care bed with removable sides, wheels, a remote control and a special anti-sleep mattress is a REAL aid in the care of a sleeping patient, which unfortunately is not available to everyone.
We would like to collect donations for such beds and mattresses so that dying people can get them free of charge, without losing the Freedoms that remain at the end of life!
We can all do our part by standing up for the dream of living freely in Latvia!

❄️Find support opportunities here: www.hospiss.lv
Find out more Facebook

LATVIAN RED CROSS - Give a gift to children seeking asylum!

As every year, also at the end of 2022, the Society Integration Foundation, together with the Latvian Social Committee, the "I Want to Help Refugees" movement and the Asylum Seekers Accommodation Centre "Mucinieki" invite the people of Latvia to provide gifts for the children of 120 asylum seekers. To take part in the charity campaign, please call 29249232!

❄️Find support opportunities here: www.redcross.lv

NGO HOPE WINGS - help Ukraine!

Ukraine needs our help!!! 💛💙
What we need now:
- Warm clothes, thermal underwear (only in good condition please);
- warm socks, gloves, hats and scarves;
- wet wipes, feminine hygiene products; wet wipes, feminine hygiene products; wet wipes, feminine hygiene products; wet wipes, feminine hygiene products. Mats, wet wipes, wet cloths, wet wipes;
- Pampers and baby food;
- saws, axes, generators;
- Nuts, energy bars, dry soups/juices, etc.
We invite those who are more comfortable to donate funds to the account LV38UNLA0050014911298, Society "Cerību Spārni", with the indication "Donation for Ukrainian people".

❄️Items can be dropped off on weekdays at Rīgas iela 1, from 8.00 to 17.00,
Institūta iela 5/a, charity shop "Visi Var", 9.00-18.00. On Saturdays from 9.00 - 15.00
Weekends at the group house, Kārkli, Siguldas parish

LATVIAN SAMARITAN COMMUNITY - age ≠ loneliness

Since September 15, the Latvian Samaritan Association (LSA) in cooperation with the retailer Lidl Latvija has created and introduced a new experience in Latvia - the possibility to make a donation in a taromat, redirecting the amount of the deposited packaging to charity. The first project to offer such a donation option is the project "Old Age is not Loneliness" to support lonely seniors. In a month and a half, people have already donated just over €1 300, which means that 13 000 bottles have been donated to charity. Join the campaign!

❄️Find support opportunities here: www.samariesi.lv

NGO "TUVU" - gifts for lonely seniors

This year is no exception - we will be creating Christmas boxes of treats and gifts for families in need. You too have the opportunity to contribute with your donation!
By donating:
🌲Candy;
🌲 food;
🌲 toys;
🌲 daily necessities.

❄️Donations can be delivered to:
Jelgava, Pasta Street 51, or Brankas, Saules Street 2b (call 26319985 in advance)

CAT CARE COMMUNITY - help cats find homes!

The association helps homeless cats find permanent homes. It provides temporary homes or clinic treatment and is actively looking for new owners. You can help by calling the donation line or buying animal-themed clothing, with all profits going to the social cause: www.pukainis.store.

❄️Find support opportunities here: www.catcarecommunity.com
Find out more: Facebook

LABDARĪBAS FONDS SOFI - palīdzi īstenot labdarības projektus!

The Sofi Charitable Foundation was established in 2020 and contributes to improving the well-being of wider society.
The Foundation supports animal shelters and promotes animal welfare, implements projects to improve children's health and education, supports socially disadvantaged groups and contributes to environmental clean-up, improving conditions for both people and animals.

❄️Find support opportunities here: www.sofifonds.lv
Find out more: Facebook


Report on trends and challenges for work integration social enterprises in Europe

The B-WISE project partners are pleased to announce the publication of the "Report on Trends and Challenges for Inclusive Social Enterprises (WISEs) in Europe - The state of play on skills shortages, in particular in the digital field", prepared by EURICSE with the support of the other project partners.

The report aims to contribute to the development of a strategic approach (Blueprint) for sectoral cooperation on skills to strengthen the work of WISEs and the skills of their workers, as well as to sustainably address the digitalisation challenges they face. Based on 27 country reports, face-to-face interviews and an online survey carried out in 13 B-WISE partner countries, the report analyses the main drivers, features and trends of WISEs in the EU-27 and explores the skills needs and gaps of WISE workers, in particular with regard to digital skills.

The report maps the EU's WISE sector and highlights the challenges these organisations face in supporting their employees from socially disadvantaged groups. The first chapter of the report analysed labour market constraints and the shortcomings of labour policy measures implemented to support the integration of workers from socially disadvantaged groups into the workplace. The following chapters look at the main features of WISEs, their added value, their drivers and their development models. Chapter 2 analyses the integration models and economic activities of WISEs; Chapter 3 focuses on reflecting the diversity of WISE legal structures in the EU-27; Chapter 4 outlines the range of resources available to WISEs: Chapter 5 aims to illustrate the context of WISE emergence and development patterns in three country groups; Chapter 6 explores the technical and interdisciplinary skills (soft skills) of WISE staff (managers, support persons and staff from socially disadvantaged groups) and related skills gaps; Chapter 7 assesses the state of WISE technology, digitisation and digital skills in the 13 countries participating in the B-WISE project. Finally, Chapter Eight highlights recent trends and challenges facing WISE in the countries studied.

This report is used to inform the future work of the project. The project partners are currently focusing on analysing the skills needs of all WISE workers, in order to be able to draw up specific training programmes for each of them and, finally, to develop a sectoral skills strategy!

Read the report HERE.

The B-WISE project, Blueprint for Sectoral Cooperation on Skills in Work Integration Social Enterprises, is an Erasmus + project coordinated by EASPD with the support of ENSIE.


Social Tourism Development in Latvia

Social tourism is inclusive for different groups of people and accessible to everyone. Since 2014, the discussions on the concept of social tourism have started and there were several attempts to introduce it in Latvia. Social entrepreneurs seem to be the most suitable to implement the concept of social tourism, however social entrepreneurship in the tourism and hospitality sector has only recently emerged. 

Social entrepreneurship is a type of business where the main objective is not to make a profit for business owners, but to solve a social problem or to create a benefit for society and to reduce the negative impact on the environment and disadvantaged communities. Social entrepreneurship is also increasingly developing in the regions of Latvia, and tourism is an area that has great potential for financial diversification of organisations, which is often one of the biggest challenges for businesses in the regions.

Tourism trends after Covid-19

The tourism industry is based on directing the flow of travellers and regulating their presence in specific places – tourist destinations. Tourism products are very diverse, both services and goods – they are unlimited in time and space. Business thrives where opportunities and an enabling environment are created. COVID 19 pandemic has had a major impact on the tourism industry and has changed the habits of tourists. Local tourism has been boosted, tourism services are becoming more specific and varied, and businesses are diversifying their products. This summer’s campaign “Visit Latvia’s Castles and Manors 2022” that was organised by the Latvian Association of Castles and Manors in cooperation with LIAA, shows that at the moment the most frequent travellers are families, couples and small groups of friends. International tourism has seen a decline in the share of group trips and in the markets generating tourists. In general, an increase of interest has been observed in nature tourism, individual experiences, including catering in non-traditional settings such as ‘Home Café Days’ or dinner on the lake. More and more people are thinking about health and health prevention measures. There is also a demand for masterclasses offering activities related to art, gastronomy, sports, spending time with loved ones and pets. There are many successful examples of animal therapy, allowing people to interact with trained dogs, horses and other pets.

Latvian social enterprises in tourism

Armands Muižnieks, a professional guide, lecturer at Turiba University and RSU, says that in one of the international conferences it was mentioned that the traveler society is changing from an information society to a dreamer society. Travelers are fascinated by sensations and adventures and less interested in information that is available to everyone. Latvian social enterprises such as “Emociju laboratorija” and “Glass Point ” offer previously mentioned masterclasses in the arts. The social enterprise “Brīvupes” in the municipality of Balvi offers animal therapy – canister therapy with dogs. The social enterprise “Nature horses” in Ķekava municipality offers experience with horses and promotes their welfare. This is also a time of opportunity for entrepreneurs from small tourist destinations in the regions, towns and countryside to create an offer that may not be their main source of income, but that can help to diversify and stabilize their income. Sometimes ideas are born by chance, adapting observations or examples seen on trips abroad. This year, a new social enterprise, “Kultūras tūrisms”, has started their activity, Indulis Bērziņš, the founder says:

“What I do is nothing new. The first Glemping came about a long time ago, when rich people brought luxury tents to sleep in the middle of nowhere in the desert. However, our niche is to be able to stay in places in Latvia where it hasn’t been possible before, and to be at the heart of great cultural places and people who are already successfully welcoming guests, just without overnight accommodation. This is a new offer in Latvia and possibly in the world.”

Current tourism trends also mean a distinctive tourism product targeted at a specific market segment – one that is not a mass tourism product. There is therefore great potential for tailor-made tourism services, such as a floating raft in a Finnish lake with facilities for wheelchair users to fish through holes drilled in the floor – just like ice fishing, with safety precautions. Muižnieks also mentions the example of how he and a wheelchair-using student from SIVA College thought about creating high beds for growing vegetables and spices so that wheelchair users could sow, plant, weed and harvest their own crops. Another successful Latvian example is the social enterprise “Visi var” in Sigulda, which both produces its own design and household goods, involving people with disabilities, and also sells the goods it produces. These include various themed candles, crockery, clothing and accessories, and could certainly be souvenirs of various tourist destinations if production is expanded.

Accessibility 

Accessible environment in general is of great importance – for example, in Liepāja, a blind guide Artūrs Līvmanis offers guided tours. As he says in an interview, “Liepaja has a good system of traffic lights and sound, as well as a public transport loudspeaker that announces the number and destination of the bus at each stop, so you can hear it outside.” Accessibility and universal design are issues that should be on the agenda of every tourism service. For tourism to thrive, there must be tourist attractions (man-made or natural), accessible environment (including easy-to-use transport systems) and adequate tourism infrastructure. This is an issue for many tourism destinations in different regions of Latvia and needs to be addressed. Once this is sorted out, operators will find ways to provide services. For example, the social enterprise “Difftravel” is already exploring accessibility and offering tours for people with mobility, visual or hearing impairments to appropriate locations in the Baltic States and plans to develop further destinations for trips abroad.

Social entrepreneurs have a much better understanding of social issues and where to develop tourism and hospitality services for different groups in society. For example, the social enterprise “Neredzmā pasaule” offers guided tours in the dark led by blind guides. Such specific services are one way of promoting public awareness and integration of people with disabilities. The most important aspect of such offers is that the service must comply with the principles of social entrepreneurship. The service must be safe, of good quality and accessible; it cannot be only a marketing slogan. Often entrepreneurs get carried away with the idea and forget that the interests of the client are the most important aspect of successfully selling the service. Competition in the tourism industry is high, so the quality of the service is important. The recipient of a service will not choose a service or product just because it is offered by a social enterprise. At the same time, it is important to explain to the general public why the results and impact of the work of social entrepreneurs is important, and sometimes the prices of the service may be higher – it is not profit for the owner, it has a higher added value.

Muižnieks also points out that on average it takes three years for a company to conquer a market and feel stable. It takes time and human resources to prepare and prioritise a tourism product, find partners, find sales channels, attract customers through social media, etc. Once a clear offer has been defined, it is necessary to involve sector or industry associations to find partners who can advise on marketing activities or implementation. In the tourism and hospitality sectors, cooperation plays an important role. In the tourism sector, help is available at national level from the LIAA Tourism Department, regional tourism associations, tourist information offices and centres, professional associations and business incubators.


This article was written in the framework of the project “Social Entrepreneurs for Tourism”, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia.