Social Entrepreneurship pitch contest “Let the good ideas grow 2022”

Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia in cooperation with Luminor bank organise the Social Entrepreneurship pitch or presentation competition ” Let the good ideas grow ” for the second year. The aim of the competition is to promote the development of existing social enterprises and new social entrepreneurship ideas, as well as to share the ideas across Latvia.

The competition is organised in three rounds, with two social entrepreneurs or authors of social entrepreneurship ideas each receiving a cash prize of €2000 to develop their business or idea. The winners are determined by a jury and a live vote of the audience.

This year 50 applications from all over Latvia were received for the contest. 25 strongest ideas and projects were shortlisted for the second round, after which the experts took part in pitch training sessions to identify the 10 finalists.

The main awards – cash prizes of 2000 euros for the growth of the business received project “Created for Movement” submitted by the association “Gaismas laiva” from Sigulda district and the Youth centre TUVU in Brankas, Jelgava district.

The project “Created for Movement” was announced as winner according to the jury decision. The project offers functional clothing and accessories for children with reduced mobility.

The winner of the live audience vote was the Youth centre TUVU in Brankas, with the idea to create a “Coffee Shop” in Ozolnieki – a container-type café where young people can get their first official work experience and facilitate their entry into the labour market.

The competition received a lot of publicity this year – between 1st of August and 14th of September, 76 media publications and 23 Facebook posts with a total reach of 91066 were published. The live broadcast of the contest final was streamed on the most popular news portal in Latvia – Delfi.lv and Facebook and it was watched by 19052 (unique viewers). Unique votes of the live stream viewers: 1182.

 


Social entrepreneurship development program Impact Academy

The “Impact Academy” social entrepreneurship development program has ended. It has helped Latvian social entrepreneurs to better understand the further development path of the business, as well as expanded the community.

At the end of last week, the participants of the program came together to present the development plans developed as part of the training.

The free social entrepreneurship development program “Impact Academy” was organized by the Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia in cooperation with “Luminor” bank. It was intended for companies, associations and authors of business ideas who are already active in social entrepreneurship and want to take a step further in the development of their organization or idea. The purpose of the development program is to promote the development of already existing social business ideas, strengthening their capacity and promoting the development of new directions and products.

“There are many programs that work with new ideas, but it is also necessary to strengthen those social enterprises that have already stabilized, but which need to be helped to take the next step,”

emphasizes Regita Zeiļa, director of the Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia.

The participants of the “Impact Academy” were given the opportunity to participate in six-month training, where experts from various fields provided practical knowledge and in individual consultations helped to develop idea development plans, as well as to start their implementation. According to the profile of his business idea, each participant was also assigned a mentor – a social entrepreneur or a specialist in a certain field, who provided advice based on experience and who could be consulted individually throughout the program.

At the closing event of the program, each of the participants highlighted the benefits of this program and further growth plans.

SIA “Print Art” offers posture correcting T-shirts under the brand name “Correcty”. The representative of the company, Yekaterina Romanova, did not hide that before joining the program, there was a period in business development when both she and the other owner of the company, Nataliya Yermolayeva, lacked motivation, the business had essentially stopped, and there were also considerations as to whether or not to continue what had been started. The program has made it clear that you still need to speed up, and the idea of ​​a new product for knee support during running has also arisen. The company will also start the production of posture-correcting T-shirts for young people.

SIA “doopsis” produces and sells reusable cloth diapers that are friendly to the environment and the child’s health, and the problem it solves is the amount of waste. The founder of the company, Linda Dambeniece-Migliniece, said that her goal when joining the Academy of Changes was primarily to create a community with a support system for new parents who want to use cloth diapers. At the end of the program, she highlights the opportunity to be with other social entrepreneurs and hear stories of their experiences. “Every time I went home very inspired,” she said, adding that consultations with experts were also very valuable, which made me think not only about the current situation, but also about the further development of the business.

“What has changed? A specific action plan has been created. I know what I will do to build a community. And I have already started doing it. In terms of business, we have almost started producing ourselves – when I started participating in the “Impact Academy”, I was a sewing outsourcer. And now I have more courage to try something new,”

emphasized the entrepreneur.”

The owner of SIA “Engineering for children”, Kristīna Jacino, has a PhD in food engineering and the company educates children about the production and nutritional value of food products. She emphasized gaining new contacts as a significant benefit from the “Impact Academy”. Also, the idea of ​​master classes for children, where they will also learn about how the price of a product is formed, has arisen.

Renāte Bērante started in the “Impact Academy” with a business idea for “Monte’s Stories” – a fairy tale book for children, which answers various questions instead of parents in an entertaining way and at the same time encourages children to turn to literature, instead of looking for answers on Internet resources. The dream of the future is to create a place of entertainment and culture for children not only from families who are able to pay, but also for those who cannot afford it for some reason.

“My initial goal when entering the “Impact Academy” was to understand whether I am a classic entrepreneur or listed as a social enterprise,”

said Bērante, emphasizing that she wants to do good work and earn money at the same time. Ultimately, it was decided to establish a social enterprise. During the program, she got to know other social entrepreneurs, which creates a sense of belonging to this community. “Within half a year, I have gotten myself a kind of route map, where I will go, how I will do it, in what status I will be and how I will get there. And that is the most important thing,” she said. In 2022, significant awards were received in children’s literature – Jānis Baltvilks “Youth” award for a debut in children’s literature and book art, as well as the Jānis Baltvilks Readers’ Sympathy Award. It gave significant recognition. “During this half year, I have finally found cooperation partners who will help develop the puppet theater, it will be movable, foldable, put in the trunk of a car, and we will be able to visit children all over Latvia – to kindergartens, schools, private parties,” revealed the entrepreneur. The second book is also being prepared.

The following participants also participated in the “Impact Academy” program: “Gaismas Laiva” association with the “Created for Movement” project, within the framework of which clothes are produced for people with mobility impairments; SIA “ĒT Resursu Centrs”, which provides mental health services – specialist assistance, consultations for persons suffering from eating disorders; SIA “Dzīvības poga” with a remote warning system – a service that ensures communication with loved ones in unexpected situations when medical or other assistance is needed; SIA “Children and Adolescent Resource Center”, which provides support for adolescents with various mental health risks and difficulties; SIA “Sculpture Culture” – the blind Georgs together with his mother Aivija Bārda offers modular houses with universal design elements, so that people with various types of disabilities can live comfortably and independently in them; SIA “Mana privātstunda” – a base of instructors for face-to-face and remote private lessons and an environment where you can learn online knowledge and skills to do homework and prepare for exams; SIA “Telpa bērnam” – an inclusive preschool educational institution with a specially adapted environment for children with autism and other mental development disorders; Ilze Zaharane’s practice as an audiologist; SIA “4 vēji”, which enables persons with mental health or other types of disabilities to work within their abilities; SIA “TIME TR LV” – employment of the socially excluded, former prisoners and people with disabilities; “Trunk market “Kirpēni”” charity project of “Dace” support society for the poor; labor integration company “Fregate”; SIA “Palliative care”, which includes physical, social, psychological and spiritual care; SIA “Stikla māja” – glass workshop “Glass Point” creates works of art, design objects and other products from recycled glass, and also offers the possibility to rent technical equipment for creating your own works of art; SIA “0 Design”, which produces interior items.


Social Impact Management of Youth Organisations and Social Enterprises

Social impact is becoming more important subject for both social enterprises and youth organisations. Often youth organisations lack knowledge and understanding about the actual quality of their work, if what they do really reaches their goals and how they could improve their work in order to create the impact they want. 

In all Baltic states there is very little information available for youth organisations about the importance of social impact management, let alone user-friendly tools or consultation services. National youth policies rarely mention or tackle this topic, leaving it all up to organisations, social enterprises and youth workers themselves to figure out if and how they could track, evaluate and communicate their impact. The problem with poor social impact management among youth organisations creates challenges and tensions also on a larger policy level.

Five partner organisations from Baltic states – Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia, The National Youth Council of Latvia, Stories for Impact, The Estonian National Youth Council and Geri Norai, active in youth field as well as in social entrepreneurship shared their knowledge and experience about social impact management in youth organisations and youth social enterprises in the framework of the project BALTIC : YOUTH : IMPACT that was co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union. The project concluded in May 2022.

The main objectives of the project were:

1. to improve the capacity, skills and know-how of youth workers in youth organisations in Baltic States on topics related to social impact management (impact tracking, measurement, evaluation and communication), and

2. to promote the importance and approaches of social impact management in youth organisations among policy makers and stakeholders in Baltic countries by creating practical, user-friendly impact management tools and policy recommendations and implementing non-formal education learning and experience sharing events for youth organisations.


The outputs of the project

NEEDS ASSESSMENT AND OVERVIEW OF THE BEST PRACTICES

This paper provides an overview of whether and how youth organisations and social enterprises in the three Baltic States — Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania — measure their impact and presents different examples to give other organisations tips for measuring their organisation’s impact. The aim is to establish the experience for today and determine the aspects motivating organisations to assess their impact.

Download in Latvian, in Lithuanian, in Estonian


BEST PRACTICE STORIES

Social impact management best practice stories bring together a variety of practical examples of how youth organisations and social enterprises in the Baltic States measure, collect and communicate their social impact. These examples serve as a great source of inspiration for organisations that want to start their own social impact management but do not know how to do it.

Watch nine best practice stories in video format.


SOCIAL IMPACT MANAGEMENT TOOLBOX

This toolbox can help you plan, implement and communicate the positive changes that you aim to create with your initiative or organisation in the lives of young people. Toolbox is a combination of nine tools especially developed for planning, measuring and increasing positive impacts of the organisations and reducing any negative effects of their activities. It is designed for an organisation that works with and for the young people, however, the tools are absolutely suitable for designing and measuring the impact of any activities.

Download the complete toolbox in Latvian, in Lithuanian, in Estonian

GUIDELINES FOR SOCIAL IMPACT COMMUNICATION

These guidelines provide support instruments to help employees or volunteers in youth organisations or social enterprises to communicate their social impact in an understandable, inexpensive way, thus supporting efforts towards quality and better work of youth organisations. The goal of social impact communication is to increase and scale the positive social and environmental impact.

POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SOCIAL IMPACT MANAGEMENT

This paper outlines project partner recommendations, based on findings, external research, and expert opinions performed during the project. These recommendations are presented with the intention of informing policy-makers and lobbyists with the power to advocate for improvements in the area of social impact management in the youth sector.

Download POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS


Policy recommendations for impact management

Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia together with Baltic partners in the framework of BALTIC : YOUTH : IMPACT project have developed Policy Recommendation Guidelines for Social Impact Management of Youth Organisations.

Based on the findings, external research and expert opinion, we have identified the problem: “Youth organisations and social enterprises working with young people do not systematically increase and demonstrate their positive social impact”. And it allowed to formulate policy recommendations aimed at informing policy makers and lobbyists with a mandate to advocate for improvements in social impact and governance in the youth sector.

DOWNLOAD POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS 

The guidelines will introduce the importance of social impact management in the daily work of youth organisations, provide practical recommendations to support the implementation of social impact management, present the Baltic States context and examples of good practice, and address in detail the main challenge, its root causes and potential consequences without framing social impact management as a systematic set of actions understood by all stakeholders.


Social Impact Communication

We understand the importance for organisations and social enterprises to manage their social impact, which makes it all the more important to communicate the social impact they are achieving to their audiences, staff and volunteers. Within the BALTIC : YOUTH : IMPACT project, the Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia together with Baltic partners have developed the Social Impact Communication Guidelines.

The aim of these guidelines is to create support tools to help staff or volunteers in youth organisations or social enterprises to communicate their social impact to the public in a clear and cost-effective way, thus supporting efforts to achieve better quality and better work of youth organisations and social enterprises.

The guidelines will help you to understand how to organise internal and external communication and how to choose the right communication message, provide examples of different communication tools, tips and advice, and important requirements to pay attention to when designing your communication.

DOWNLOAD THE SOCIAL IMPACT COMMUNICATION GUIDELINES

The communication guidelines will inspire you to communicate the social impact of your organisation or project to your internal and external audiences.  If, after reading the guidelines, you still have doubts or feel that your organisation is too small and does not have enough resources to develop your own social impact communication strategy, do not be afraid to start with small steps. Start with simple activities such as preparing and collecting data.

By starting slowly, you can continue to grow and achieve great things – the more you talk about your organisation, the more likely you are to get more support and expand your team in the future.


Beneficiary journey map

A BENEFICIARY JOURNEY MAP helps you understand the experiences of the people that take part in your activities and plan steps to nudge them into the direction of positive impact.

Rūta Žulpaitė (Geri Norai)

“The beneficiary journey map is a tool that should be used quite regularly: for understanding your overall target audience, but also while forming, preparing a new project or activity.

Because most of the time every project or activity could have slightly different service user specification, so it is crucial to analyse it and modify the activities accordingly.

It could also be used as an activity for informal team meetings and team buildings, too.”

What is it?

To design and optimise impactful activities, it is necessary to understand the beneficiaries’ needs, concerns and experiences

Your beneficiaries are the people who benefit (directly or indirectly) from what you do. 

Usually, your beneficiaries are the stakeholders that are the most impacted by achieving your impact goal. In other words – if you achieve your impact goal you will help create positive impacts in their lives.

A beneficiary journey map is a visual representation of the experiences of the people who take part in the activities that you organise to achieve your organisation´s impact goal.

The tool is helpful: 

  • at the beginning of the design process of the solution to achieve your impact goal, 
  • whenever there is a need to assess and improve the organisation’s activities by having a look at what the people who are involved in your activities really feel, think and act when coming into contact with you. 

1.Choose a group/segment of your beneficiaries that share similar characteristics, for example, age, gender, interest or socioeconomic status. Then define one typical representative of the group. Be as specific as you can.

In service design, such a typical representative is called a persona. You can read more about creating personas here on this link.

2. Write down the entire process of their interaction with your organization by categorizing it into phases. From the first moment they hear about you to the last moment they think about you! Take also into account the steps that are not covered by your activities but may highly influence the beneficiary´s experience. The process can be as long or as short as necessary and depends on your organization and chosen stakeholder. The more detailed phases you add, the more insights you will probably have.

3. For all phases, write down the ideal situation based on the best experiences the beneficiaries can have, the worst-case scenario that describes the most typical negative situations, and the realistic, most optimal scenario outlining the experiences that most of such types of beneficiaries experience. For all phases, write down the thoughts, emotions, etc. you want your stakeholder to have.

4. Then check out the instances when your ideal is different from reality. Identify actions you can take to move towards your ideal using the question: “What can we do in each of the phases to avoid worst-case scenarios and enable realistic and even ideal scenarios?”

In a nutshell

Think of a group of people that you interact with. Think about an average person from that group. Now put yourself in their shoes and think about what is their experience with you, from start to finish. What does the ideal situation look like? What is the worst-case scenario? What does the realistic scenario look like?

What would you need or like to change about their experiences to achieve more positive impact? In other words – what should you change in your activities to achieve your impact goal better?

You can also have variations in its use

For example, variations in analysis depth.

LIGHT: Write down the keywords based on your (team’s) experience, opinions and gut instinct.

MEDIUM: Involve at least some representatives of the beneficiaries to the brainstorm and/or observe neutrally how the process works out in reality (e.g. what happens during the recruitment or at your events),

ADVANCED: Do some more thorough research to understand the journey and experiences of different segments of your beneficiaries, e.g., some more interviews, focus groups and observations as well as surveys.

Here is an example about a cyberbullying prevention program.

When and why should I use the tool?

The beneficiary journey map helps you to understand the needs and experiences of the persons you involve in and influence by your activities. 

As the tool visualises every step of the beneficiary´s journey, it nudges you to think very practically about the design of your activities: what may work well, what can go wrong, what could be improved. When using the tool, it is highly recommended to collect feedback from the users to be sure that we make correct assumptions about their thoughts, feelings and experiences.

The user journey map helps all types of organisations to analyse how their solutions can have more impact on a very practical level, e.g. how to reduce drop-out of the participants during their journey. The tool is helpful at the beginning of the design process of any solution and also whenever there is a need to assess and improve the organisation’s ongoing activities.

Why to use it?

☑ Helps you identify actions you need to take to improve the beneficiary’s experience with you (e.g. to avoid recruiting unsuitable individuals, reduce drop-outs and offer impactful follow-up activities). 

By writing down the entire process of how a certain key stakeholder interacts with you, you will understand better

1) What are the parts of the beneficiary journey that currently block the way to your desired results and impact? You can take action to remove these blockers. These can also be the parts that are not be related to your activities but will still influence whether you can have the intended impact on your beneficiary.

2) Which aspects of that process may be positive or negative to the beneficiary? You can take action to prevent negative situations and strengthen positive experiences.

When to use it?

When designing your activities by considering the experiences that you want your beneficiaries to have at each of the contact points that you have with them to:

  • enable their positive experiences,
  • reduce their risks of having negative experiences. 

Whenever you would like to analyse and improve your activities to achieve a bigger impact by understanding and improving the experiences of your beneficiaries who are involved in your activities.



Stakeholder map

A STAKEHOLDERS MAP helps you analyse and manage relationships with individuals and organisations who are impacted by your solution or who can influence whether your solution will be successful.
What is it?

The stakeholder map helps your organisation to find out who the stakeholders are that you need to focus on if you want to be successful.

The stakeholders can be groups of people (e.g. the youngsters you are working with or the volunteers that help to organise your activities) or organisations (e.g. schools that you need to cooperate with to reach the youngsters or the funders that provide you with grants)  or influential individual representatives of organisations (e.g. a Head of Department of a Ministry or a leader of a large umbrella organisation).

The tool helps you to identify, analyse and successfully work with the stakeholders you need to influence to achieve your impact goal and prevent them from influencing your activities negatively. 

It is useful to first fill in the goal tree because then you will have a clearer idea who are the stakeholders you need to focus on to: 

  • achieve your impact goal. That is because you usually need cooperation, funding and other actions from the stakeholders to achieve something as big and ambitious as your impact goal likely is,
  • ensure the existence of the preconditions that need to be in place for your success. That is because ensuring the existence of the preconditions usually depends also on the actions of your stakeholders.

This is what you should do.

1.Identify and map the activities that you need to undertake to achieve your impact goals. Include the activities that are needed to ensure the preconditions of achieving your impact goals. You can identify these preconditions with the help of the goal tree.

2.Brainstorm and write down all the stakeholders that are or may be important from the perspective of achieving your impact goal. Who can influence the success of your activities? Who will you influence with your activities and need to take responsibility for?

As mentioned before, the stakeholders can be groups of people or organisations or influential individual representatives of organisations.

3.As you have already identified your stakeholders during the brainstorm at the previous step, place each of their names in an appropriate cell of the stakeholder map diagram. Placing the stakeholders would work the best with (virtual or physical) post-it notes: one note per stakeholder.

The exact location can be determined with the help of the scale. For example, the stakeholders with the lowest interest and highest influence in relation to achieving your impact objective (e.g. the potential participants that have currently a negative image of your organisation) should be placed on the top left side of the table.

Finding appropriate places for each of the stakeholders may take some time and discussion among your team as the team members may have different views about the relative interest and influence of your stakeholders.

4.Analyse your stakeholder map and make choices about the steps you need to take to manage the stakeholders that you need to influence and have a high impact on your success. 

Two questions to help you have been provided:

  • Who are your most important stakeholders? 
  • What can you practically do to maximise their positive influences and minimise their negative influences on the achieving of your impact goal?
You can watch the video to get an idea of what the tool is about or continue reading after the video player.

In a nutshell…

Decide about what you want to achieve: create a goal tree and identify your impact goal

Then map the stakeholders: 

  • who you want to have an impact on,
  • who can support you in / prevent you from achieving your goals. 

The stakeholders can be groups of people sharing similar characteristics or organisations or influential individual representatives of organisations.

Write the stakeholders down in a list. Then put them in the following four categories and write down concrete actions to take (if needed) about each of the stakeholders.

  1. Who can very much help you or get in your way AND are really interested in what you are doing? Put the most effort into making these people or organisations involved and happy. If they want to prevent you from achieving your impact objective, you can plan to take necessary preventive measures. 
  2. Who can very much help you or get in your way AND are not really interested in what you are doing? You have to make sure these people or organisations are happy with your work, but don’t put too much effort in – after all, they are not really interested.
  3. Who can’t really help you or get in your way AND is really interested in what you are doing? Since they are interested, keep them informed, but don’t put in too much effort, since they can’t help you much.
  4. Who can’t really help you or get in your way AND is not really interested in what you are doing? Put the least effort into interacting with these people, if any at all.
You can also have variations in its use

LIGHT: Write down the keywords based on your (team’s) experience, opinions and gut instinct.

MEDIUM: Involve the representatives of the stakeholders in creating the stakeholder map.

ADVANCED: Do some research to understand better your stakeholder groups and differentiate between segments inside the stakeholder groups with varying degrees of “influence” and “interest”. The research can include interviews, focus groups and asking for expert opinions.

Here is an example about a cyberbullying prevention program.

Why to use it?

☑ To understand who exactly are the different groups of people and organisations that you need to involve and influence to achieve your impact objectives, e.g., young people you are directly working with, or the adults whose actions have a direct impact on the young people that you want to help. 

☑ By using the stakeholder mapping tool you prioritize the stakeholders by the amount of influence and interest they have over achieving your impact objective. You can use this tool to choose which actions to take with each stakeholder and prioritise how much time to spend on them.

To take responsibility for your actions that may negatively influence some groups of people during your activities. It is especially important regarding these stakeholders who have no power to directly influence your activities that might have a negative impact on them (e.g. young people who would develop quicker in other programs and thus waste their potential by participating in your activities, or youngsters who are required to attend your programs by other adults like their parents or social workers).

When to use it?

☑ Before developing your short-term objectives and activities (e.g. after choosing your impact objective and completing the goal tree based on the impact objective).

☑ When you want to make sure that you have identified all the risks and opportunities related to the groups of people and organisations who may have the interest and/or power to influence whether you will achieve your impact objective or not.



Goal Tree

A GOAL TREE helps you design and communicate your solution to the societal problem by analysing the preconditions and impacts of your success.

Tadas Bartasevicius (MB Spanguolės dirbtuvėlės)

I found this tool very beneficial in equally including my team in the decision-making and idea generation processes.

Using the model of the tool, we provide our own activity ideas as solutions to the problems our social business is trying to solve.

 

Erik Mikkus (Estonian National Youth Council)

I was a guest in a national radio programme and talked about why young candidates aren’t ofter popular in local elections.

The solution tree gave me a systematic approach and clear structure to the issue and helped me prepare for the talk.

What is it?

The goal tree is very similar to the problem tree. It is an easy-to-use tool for specifying what needs to be done to achieve your organisation’s goals and what the impacts are or (hopefully) will be thanks to your success.

This tool helps you understand: 

  • what you need to be put in place to achieve your goal;
  • what good things you can expect to happen if you are successful.

Analysing the first point can help you see what could block you from achieving the goal and solving the problem – so that you could prevent those blockers as early as possible! 

The second point helps you understand what can be the impacts if you are successful at achieving your goal. You can use the knowledge of these impacts to communicate the usefulness of achieving your goal and observe if these impacts are really happening when you think you have achieved your goal.

You can watch the video to get an idea of what the tool is about or continue reading after the video player.

In more detail…

1.Write down the goal that you want to achieve as a result of your activities to solve a social problem. If you have already completed a problem tree, you can choose the problem and turn it into a positive goal from that tree. You can also call it your impact goal because achieving this goal means creation of your positive impact too.

2.Write down the preconditions. Imagine working towards the goal and reaching it. What needs to be in place or happen before achieving the goal? What do you need for your plan to work as intended? Is there something you assume to be true, but might not be? For example, getting the preconditions in place may mean tackling some of the root causes of the core problem that you intend to solve or establishing new partnerships to have sufficient resources to achieve the goal.

3.Write down your desired results and impacts, which will occur if you are successful at achieving your goal. What will be the first results that will probably be visible in the shorter term after achieving your goal? What good things can happen thanks to the shorter-term results? Etc.

4.Analyse the goal tree and make choices about your mission and activities. For example, are there any important preconditions that you have not yet ensured? Do you measure the most important results that have been identified thanks to  the goal tree?

You can also have variations in its use

Variations in certainty.

LIGHT: Write down the key words based on your (team´s) experience, opinions and gut instinct.

MEDIUM: Involve other organisations, ask for expert opinions, include the viewpoints of the stakeholders that have different experience and values compared with your team.

ADVANCED: Only include causes and consequences that the scientific research and literature has shown to have clear links to the main problem.. E.g. you may think that you may be able to reach certain desired impact by you activities. However, if there have been no studies to prove such possibility, you should not include it to the goal tree.

Here is an example about a cyberbullying prevention program.

Why use it?

☑ To make it easier to translate the needs and challenges shown on the problem tree into you impact goal and activities to achieve the goal.

☑ You will better understand what needs to happen before you can achieve your goals. In other words – what are the preconditions that need to be in place before you can be successful. Thanks to this knowledge, you can make efforts to ensure these preconditions. Alternatively, you may decide to identify a new goal if you will see that ensuring the preconditions of your initial goal is not realistic.

☑ You will more precisely identify the results and impacts that will happen thanks to providing your solution, you can communicate the value of your organisation’s work. Also, you may decide to measure at least some of these results and impacts to be sure that achieving your impact goal has really been valuable to the beneficiaries and society.

When to use it?

☑ When developing your impact goals and activities based on the problems that you want to address.

☑ When analysing how you could increase the likelihood of your success by addressing the preconditions of your impact goal. “Addressing the preconditions” means taking action to ensure that these preconditions may be in place.

☑ When analysing whether your impact goals are achievable. If some of the core preconditions cannot be ensured, you should probably change your impact goal into a one in which preconditions can be better met.

☑ When creating indicators that you will use to measure your results and impacts (by identifying all the good things that happen thanks to achieving your impact goal).

☑ When you need to explain your organisation’s work internally or externally, e.g. why you are organising some of the activities (to ensure necessary preconditions of your success) or what the wider value of your organisation´s work is (in case you achieve your impact goal).



Problem Tree

A PROBLEM TREE helps you understand and communicate the problem you aim to solve by analysing its causes and effects.

Solveiga Skaisgirytė (Global Citizens Academy)

For us, the most useful way is to use the problem tree for our team problem analysis so that we can understand the sources of communication, productiveness problems, why we face the recurring conflicts, etc.

But we also find it very useful when analysing the general problems in our community/society that we seek to solve as a social enterprise.

 

Jānis Broks (SIA “Dzīves oāze”)

The problem tree allows me to better show the situation that will be achieved in the future after my service is done.

It allows me to dig deeper and see several layers of what can happen with/without my intervention. It helps me to justify the price of the service as the tree shows what kind of effect/impact my activities can have.

What is it?

Organisations exist to solve one or multiple problems in the community or society. The problem tree helps you to systematically analyse the causes and effects of the problem(s) that you want to solve as a part of your organisation’s mission.

The easy-to-use tool works best during the design and/or planning process, but also anytime when core problems need to be (re)identified or clarified.

Perhaps you are one of those people who do not like the word “problem”. In that case, feel free to rename it as a tree of challenges, needs or issues. The tool will remain as useful for you as before.

This tool helps you understand a) why the problem exists at all and b) what things happen as a result of the problem. Mapping the causes of the problem may help you understand what you need to do to make the problem disappear. Mapping the consequences of the problem can help you understand what would the positive results be if the problem would be lessened or removed.

First, you have to define the core problem that your mission focuses on. 

Below the core problem, write the main causes of the problem and the causes of the main causes etc. until you understand the causes well enough.

Above the core problem, write the main consequences of the problem and the consequences of the main consequences etc. until you understand the consequences well enough.

Watch the video to get an idea of what the tool is about or continue reading after the video player.

In more detail…

1.Start by writing down the core problem that you want to solve.

2.Write down the causes of the problem by asking a series of “why” questions. The deeper you go, the better.

The core problem is P.
Why does P exist?
Answer = A.
And why does A exist?
Answer = B.
And why does B exist?
Answer = C
Etc.

3.Write down the consequences. What does the problem lead to? 

The core problem is P.
What does P lead to?
Answer = R.
And what does R lead to?
Answer = S.
Etc.

4.Analyse the problem tree and make choices about your mission and activities.

  • Would you like to keep a problem as the central problem you’re focusing on, or would it be more inspiring/realistic to tackle any of the causes/consequences as your main mission? 
  • What causes/consequences can you tackle yourself? What would be the partnerships that you would need to remove more causes or consequences of the problem?
You can also have variations in its use

Variations in certainty.

LIGHT: Write down the keywords based on your (team’s) experience, opinions and gut instinct.

MEDIUM: Involve other organisations, ask for expert opinions, including the viewpoints of the stakeholders that have different experiences and values compared with your team.

ADVANCED: Only include causes and consequences that the scientific research and literature has shown to have clear links to the main problem.

Here is an example about a cyberbullying prevention program.

Why to use it?

☑ To understand better the problem(s) your mission aims to solve (or to find out what your mission should be).

☑ To make informed decisions about which aspects of the problem you can and want to concentrate on. 

☑ To better explain and communicate the problem and its causes/effects to the stakeholders whom you need to convince. You can show the tree or just use it to prepare your arguments for presentations or negotiations.

When to use it?

☑ When developing or updating your mission and vision or specifying your strategic choices.

☑ When the organisation aims to understand and communicate certain topics/problems better.

☑ When you want to change or expand your activities to tackle more causes.

☑ When looking for cooperation partners (to collaborate with organisations that address the causes and/or consequences of the problem that you cannot or don’t want to address with your own organisation).


Achievements

Since the foundation in the autumn of 2015, the Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia has become one of the leading organizations in the social entrepreneurship sector in Latvia, not only taking care of improving the capacity, knowledge, and skills of its members in various ways but also developing and promoting the overall social enterprise ecosystem in Latvia.

The most important accomplishments of the Association, which have significantly contributed to the development of the social entrepreneurship sector in Latvia:

  • As a result of the three years of work and active involvement of the Association, the Latvian parliament Saeima unanimously adopted the Law on Social Entrepreneurship at the end of 2017, which came into force on 1 April 2018. The law, for the first time in Latvia, defines a social enterprise and the legal framework for its activities.
  • The participation of the representative of the Association in the Commission on the Status of the Social Enterprise of the Ministry of Welfare provides a professional and experienced expert opinion during the status award process.
  • Active participation in the development of a financial support program for social entrepreneurship of the Ministry of Welfare and ALTUM, ensuring the representation of the interests and needs of social enterprises, as well as a clear explanation of the possibilities and conditions provided by the program.
  • Local governments in Latvia are aware of social entrepreneurship and its opportunities; more than 20 municipalities have been involved in activities to promote social entrepreneurship in their territories,  together with British Council Latvia we have created a useful toolbox for municipality representatives and tested support mechanisms for social enterprises in 3 municipalities - Ogre, Rēzekne and Līvāni
  • Business incubators and the employees of Investment and Development Agency of Latvia are informed and educated about social entrepreneurship, its nature and possibilities, as a result, the business incubators are open to social enterprises and are able to offer them appropriate support.
  • Through active work, meetings and communication with other public and private actors, social entrepreneurship has become a topical and stimulating issue for various state and local government institutions (e.g., the State Employment Agency, International Youth Program Agency, etc.), banks, private investors, companies, etc.
  • The topic of social entrepreneurship and social enterprise stories have been promoted in the media, including the biggest online press releases of Latvia (Diena, NRA, Latvijas avīze), on television (LTV, LNT, TV3), radio (LR1, LR5, LR6, Star FM), online portals (lsm.lv, DELFI, TVNET) and others.
  • The Social Entrepreneurship Forum of the Association has become the most important annual event of the social entrepreneurship sector, bringing together more than 160 participants, lecturers and experts from Latvia and abroad. Resultant to the forum, a new audience was introduced with the topic of social entrepreneurship and valuable long-term relationships established. 
  • Every year the Social Entrepreneurship Catalogue of Latvia is published, introducing the Latvian and international audience with the success stories of Latvian social entrepreneurs.
  • A network of Social Entrepreneurship Ambassadors has been established together with British Council Latvia, with more than 20 active creative community leaders in all regions of Latvia. Through the network of ambassadors, more than 3,600 people across the country have been informed about social entrepreneurship.
  • Three international publications on various social entrepreneurship topics have been published, which are available free of charge at www.socialauznemejdarbiba.lv and have been proactively introduced to decision-makers and opinion leaders throughout Latvia.
  • Through the ‘one-stop-shop’ consultations, more than 50 people have acquired the necessary knowledge, skills and information to implement their social entrepreneurship ideas.
  • More than 100 educational and informative events throughout Latvia have been implemented, providing accessible and comprehensible information on social entrepreneurship opportunities in all regions of Latvia.
  • Creation and maintenance of the largest and most comprehensive internet resource in Latvian on social entrepreneurship www.socialauznemejdarbiba.lv.
  • Every year the Social Entrepreneurship Market is organized in cooperation with the Kalnciems Quarter - this event not only provides for the visibility of social enterprises but also informs the new audiences about social entrepreneurship.
  • Together with the Association members and partners, especially the British Council of Latvia, we create a community to exchange social entrepreneurship knowledge and experience, as a result, new and productive cooperation and opportunities are available for Latvian social enterprises.

Do you want to join our work and engage in creating a social entrepreneurship environment while also using the diverse opportunities and privileges offered by the Association? Become a member! More information here.