How to improve social entrepreneurship ecosystem in Zemgale and Northern Lithuania?

The Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia, together with the Zemgale Planning Region, Rokiškis District Municipality, and the Lithuanian Social Business Association, is embarking on the project “Improving the Social Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in Zemgale and Northern Lithuania” (RE:IMPACT) in response to this question.

The role of social entrepreneurs in the Baltic region is becoming increasingly significant in the fight against various societal issues. The Covid-19 pandemic, war in Ukraine, rising prices, and inflation have demonstrated the importance of societal engagement, inclusivity, innovative solutions, and various approaches to addressing these challenges. In such a situation, regional support is particularly crucial because local leaders are the ones who recognize the potential opportunities for utilizing innovative solutions.

Often, national and municipal authorities do not realize possible forms of support for collaboration with social enterprises, and sometimes there is a lack of understanding and motivation to establish such partnerships. According to the European Social Entrepreneurship Survey (2021), the majority of Latvian residents perceive political support for social entrepreneurship as low (25.6%) or even very low (25.6%). Similar results were obtained in Lithuania as well.

Despite Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia working closely with various public sector stakeholders, there is still a weak understanding of social innovations, social entrepreneurs, their work, and impact. According to the BRESE report, many social entrepreneurs lack business skills. In both Latvia and Lithuania, the majority of social enterprises have emerged from the non-profit sector and are newcomers to the business sphere. Moreover, the growth of social enterprises is influenced by the size of the national market. This can be particularly observed in areas outside the capital, such as remote districts of Zemgale.

To change the current situation, the goal of the “RE:IMPACT” project is to improve the environment for social entrepreneurship at the regional level – in this project, focusing specifically on Zemgale region and Northern Lithuania. Project partners will promote public sector participation, support measures for social entrepreneurs, develop educational materials for teachers, and inform wider public about social entrepreneurship in general and good regional examples of social entrepreneurs. By doing so, the capacity of social entrepreneurs will increase, which will positively impact local communities on a broader scale.

During the project, it is planned to: identify, map, and assess potential areas for the development of social enterprises; analyze and compare the needs of social enterprises in the Zemgale region and Northern Lithuania; develop practical educational materials on social entrepreneurship for schools and business centers, as well as strengthen the skills of social entrepreneurs and organize experience exchanges.

To achieve these goals, the project is divided into three different stages, each of which will accomplish one of the project’s objectives through various activities.

In the first stage, the status of existing and potential social enterprises will be researched, and educational materials and guidelines will be developed. In the second stage, exchange visits for both social entrepreneurs and public sector representatives will take place, during which participants from Latvia and Lithuania will get to know each other, share their experiences, and learn from each other’s mistakes and success stories to apply the newly gained knowledge in their daily lives. In the final, or third stage, social enterprise stories will be promoted, and an information campaign for the wider public will be conducted.

Currently, we have started actively identifying organizations and individuals working for the common good in the municipalities of Zemgale – Aizkraukle, Dobele, Bauska, Jelgava, Jēkabpils districts, and Jelgava city.

If you know people or organizations implementing activities for the common good in Zemgale, please contact us! Write to or !

The total funding for the project is EUR 595,286. 00. The co-financing of the project from the European Regional Development Fund is EUR 476,228.80. The project implementation period is until January 31, 2026.

For more details about the project, you can visit HERE.


This publication is prepared with the financial support of the European Union. The content is solely the responsibility of the Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia, a partner of the project “Improving the Social Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in Zemgale and Northern Lithuania”, and does not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union.