There will be social entrepreneurship in Latgale!



What is social entrepreneurship in Latvia at the present moment? A fashion thing, a temporary phenomenon or an opportunity? Does it have prospects in Latgale? These questions were discussed by members of associations, entrepreneurs, leaders and experts of the local government, academics, a representative of the Ministry of Welfare, the media and other interested parties. Dr oec. Lasma Dobele, the lecturer of Latvia University of Agriculture expressed her point of view on the challenges and opportunities of social business in Latvia. Guests from Iceland – the manager of Örtækni workshop Hartmann Gudmundsson and Kristján Valdimarsson, the chairman of the Vocational Rehabilitation centre ?rvi – told about the best practices of their country. IMG_6639

The Ministry of Welfare has developed the concept of “The introduction of social entrepreneurship opportunities in Latvia”, which aim is promoting the establishment of social enterprises in Latvia and creating a favorable operating environment for these companies. However, no legal framework for regulating and supporting of social enterprises and their operations is created in Latvia. Social enterprises operate on the same principles as any classic company. There is a number of companies in Latvia, which deal with social problems, but they do not have the status of SE or any privileges. The participants of the discussion identified the potential threats and the benefits to the society by the development of social entrepreneurship. The resolution, which aim is promoting the inclusion of social entrepreneurship issues in the political agenda of local governments, government institutions and the government and updating them, was developed. It was stated, that all interested parties must take part in solving these questions. With the encouragement to design legal framework for SE the resolution was submitted to the Ministry of Welfare and the Ministry of Finance.

The leading academics of Rezekne High School and Daugavpils University acknowledged that universities should introduce a training program in social entrepreneurship. This is because SE is a type of business, when a company is producing goods or providing services with the goal of tackling social problems rather than financial gain for the owner of the company. It is also important to be able to work as a team with people who have a reduced capacity for work. Maybe by the time it would change the public thinking cliches? For example, the absurd assumption that people with disabilities are unable to produce quality goods.

You can see the video of the discussion “Social entrepreneurship in Latgale – to be or not?” on the website of Latgale regional television- The photographs and the resolition.

and are available on the website of Ludza Society of Disabled –
The regional discussion was organized by Ludza Society of Disabled and Örtækni, the workshop of the Organization of Disabled in Iceland and in collaboration with Ludza County local municipality in frames of the project No. 2012.EEZ/PP/1 /MEC/012 “Work is life”. The project is financially supported by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, Latvian State and Ludza County municipality.

Svetlana Rimsa