Specialised clothing for people with reduced mobility and alternative music education won Social Entrepreneurship Pitch Competition

October 17, 2023

The initiative “Is it easy to put on trousers?” from Ogre and alternative music education in a supportive environment “BJMK Rokskola” from Jelgava won the final of the social entrepreneurship pitch competition “Let the good ideas grow 2023” and each received a cash prize of EUR 4000 from Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia and Luminor bank for the growth of its business.

The initiative “Is it easy to put on trousers?” developed by Zane Bērziņa was named the winner of the competition by the jury. Zane’s idea is to produce specialised clothing for people with reduced mobility, with the aim of making their everyday life easier and helping them to integrate into society easier. The range includes specially designed and tailored trousers, shirts, t-shirts, jackets, tops – garments that look casual from the outside, but only the wearer knows the hidden features that make it easier to put on and take off.

The winner of the audience vote was “BJMK Rokskola” – a social enterprise from Jelgava offering alternative music education in a supportive environment. It is the only accredited music school in Latvia so far that offers a vocational education programme “Rock music”. One of the school’s main goals is to help young people discover the joy of making music and to keep it even if they choose a future profession in another field. “Rokskola” also offers students quality leisure time content free of charge, and plans to expand its offer with music workshops, interactive excursions and educational material.

10 existing and future social entrepreneurs from different parts of Latvia presented their social entrepreneurship ideas in the final of the competition “Let the good ideas grow 2023”.

This year we received a total of 99 applications. The 25 strongest social entrepreneurship initiatives were shortlisted for the second round. We are pleasantly surprised by how well prepared, diverse and valuable the ideas in this year’s competition are. This shows that the support measures and training programmes implemented for social entrepreneurship start-ups and existing entrepreneurs are really working, we are seeing results and we need to continue providing such support to see the growth of the sector,”

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

We are very proud and pleased to have helped to promote the development of social entrepreneurship in Latvia for several years by supporting the ideas and projects of courageous and passionate people who care about and shed light on important issues in society. This year we are delighted to see so much interest in the pitch competition “Let the good ideas grow 2023”, which was also evident in the number of applications and the significant audience vote. This year, the main prize of the jury went to a company whose main goal is to support people with functional disabilities by producing suitable and comfortable clothing. The audience votes went to the only accredited music school in Latvia that runs a vocational education programme in rock music and works mainly with young people. This competition is an opportunity for companies, associations and people with initiative to receive support and to lean on their strengths,” says Kerli Vares, Head of Luminor Latvia.

A number of special prizes were awarded – a sympathy prize from ALTUM went to LeatherWorks, a company that produces high-quality lifestyle products using only natural leather offcuts. Charity shop “Otrā Elpa” awarded “Remontbufete”, an initiative by Zane Ruģēna – a repair and building materials exchange point. Luminor bank awarded its sympathy – the clothing brand “PARTAPIS”, which creates new, functional and unique garments from existing, but for various reasons no longer suitable, clothing and other textiles.

The competition “Let the good ideas grow” is organised by the Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia in cooperation with Luminor bank for the fourth year with the aim to promote the development of existing social enterprises and new social entrepreneurship ideas, as well as to raise awareness about social entrepreneurship ideas and initiatives. The competition is supported by the Charity shop “Otrā elpa”, news portal Delfi.lv and the Development Finance Institution “Altum”, co-financed by the European Union (project number, ESF project “Support for Social Entrepreneurship”).