Social entrepreneurship development program Impact Academy

September 26, 2022

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.