Social enteprise “Visas Iespējas”

July 4, 2024

“Visas Iespējas”, Riga

Gathers youth organizations and diverse projects in Latvia and the rest of the world; organises youth and business speed dating and Job Tinder.

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The aim of the social enterprise “Visas Iespējas” is helping young people find opportunities ranging from scholarships and exchange programmes to internships, volunteering and permanent work. Social enterprise has been running for almost six years and, in addition to the above, offers mentoring programmes and training.

The biggest task so far has been the participation in “Go Remote” project, which aimed to help young people from the regions find ways to work remotely without having to move. The project was developed in partnership with six other countries – Croatia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Iceland, Finland and Norway – and has trained around 500 people and provided mentoring to 200. But the total number of people helped over the lifetime of the company cannot be easily put into numbers immediately. “It is very difficult to give a figure, but we know that 3 000 people have participated in Job Tinder, 500 – 700 have gone through training, 200 have applied for mentoring, 15 – 20 thousand people use the website every month. We have reached more than 1,500 young people in schools,” says Gustavs Mārtiņš Upmanis, the company’s CEO.

The selection of information on the website is simple – it tries to include everything that can help young people from the age of 14. The partners are mostly youth organisations, which means that there are also a big offer of exchange programmes and development courses. “The moment we design the programmes ourselves, we look at what our unique contribution is. And there are four areas that have crystallised – mentoring, online learning, job opportunities and meeting young people in schools.”

To expand job opportunities for young people, five-minute interviews with companies are organised – each jobseeker meets four/five companies to talk to in a four-hour period. Now, there is also a new opportunity called “Job Tinder”.

Mentoring has proven to be an important part because it helps all young people, whether they have challenges in their lives and are struggling, or, on the contrary, have done well but want to achieve as much as possible. “Advice from someone who has been further in life than you always helps,” says Gustavs.

Another important aspect is the school programme, where “Visas Iespējas” wants to be “a multiplier of what is happening in Latvia, telling about everything that is possible, including career development”. “Schools can’t give that much because industries are moving forward, it’s very difficult to include it all in the school curriculum. So we want to be the ones going around and talking about these opportunities,” Gustavs explains.

Social enterprise “Visas Iespējas” finds employees through its own channels – both through its own “Job Tinder” and by advertising vacancies on social networks. “The best part is that the young people who follow us and love what we do are the ones we want to have in our team. We are looking for the ability to think, the ability to develop, a strong desire to grow ourselves and to help other young people to grow and develop,” Gustavs says. The company currently employs 14 people (nine of them full-time), and the geography of the workforce is quite broad. “At the moment, one girl lives in Lithuania and one in South Korea, so we are also very much into remote working.”

The social enterprise also has sales people, which is perhaps not very typical for a youth company, Gustavs admits. “Visas Iespējas” gets its funding in three different ways. For mentoring and training, it is mostly project money, while for employment-related activities (e.g. “Job Tinder”), the core business provides the funding. In other words, companies have to pay for their participation, which helps to make these tools sustainable.

“There are also IT projects where we have our own team. If we have spare capacity and projects come up, we are very happy to provide IT services to external clients. At the moment it’s the least active part, but there are moments when it gets busier,” says Gustavs. The social enterprise status, in turn, has allowed them to apply for grants, which has been a good support for further activities.

But how did the idea of creating up such an enterprise come about? It all started with another idea – a website called “”, which gathered information about various events in Latvia. “We realised that there was a problem that young people didn’t know what to do and we had a ready-made IT solution and that we could help with and that it was such a unique thing – if we didn’t do it, nobody would. That’s where the motivation came from, the conviction that it was worth getting involved,” Gustavs recalls. He has a Master’s degree in Business Information Management – how to manage IT companies and platforms, how to build IT structures in different organisations – but he realised right away that business has more added value if it is social – if it can help someone solve a real problem, rather than, for example, selling them something they might not need.

“I think it just comes from life, from family, from the values that I have, that it’s worth doing something that’s good for somebody. That’s how it started. Even this first company, which wasn’t technically social, it was still about helping people. Being an entrepreneur is the only nature I know. I just don’t have the zest to do things that only bring in money. There is more excitement in doing things that help others in a sustainable way. And I strongly believe that a profitable business is also the most sustainable way to mobilise people – through money – to come together for a common cause and solve a problem. Every day, full time. Then the change grows bigger and bigger,” says Gustavs Mārtiņš Upmanis.

The plans for the near future are also clear – to focus on the things that have already been developed, to build on them and, for example, to offer “Job Tinder” in other countries. “At the moment, “Job Tinder” is for young Latvians, there are only a couple of international companies that don’t have an office in Latvia. But we plan to expand it within a year – there are already companies interested in Lithuania and Estonia, and we are also interested in seeing how it can be expanded,” Gustavs notes.