social entrepreneurship
Upcoming social entrepreneurs develop promising ideas for the well-being of society
During a three-month Social Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme, a group of 11 aspiring social entrepreneurs have harnessed their potential to develop promising ideas that aim to contribute to the well-being of society. These innovative ventures utilize business tools to address critical issues such as promoting employment opportunities for vulnerable groups, fostering environmental sustainability, and providing crucial support for children and young people. This accelerator program is implemented by the NGO NewDoor and is part of the Ministry of Welfare's cycle of activities called "Developing Social Entrepreneurship Together!", funded by the European Social Fund.

Throughout the program, participants received comprehensive online training on a wide range of topics crucial to social entrepreneurs, including product and service development, customer experience, brand identity, marketing and communication strategies, digital marketing, media relations, budgeting, financial management, business planning, investor mindset, and presentation skills.

Thanks to the hospitality and support of "Radisson Blu Ridzene," on May 23, accelerator graduates, representatives from the social entrepreneurship ecosystem, supporters, and interested parties gathered at the hotel to learn more about the upcoming social enterprises. The event was also attended by Israeli ambassador in Latvia Sharon Rappaport-Palgi.

The graduates of the accelerator program have introduced a diverse range of projects.
In Riga, the bicycle workshop Crazy Pedals will provide employment opportunities for individuals reintegrating into society after incarceration, as well as recovering addictions, while in Ogre the café Pie Zelta Liepas will open, with the aim of integrating individuals with special needs into the job market. In Smiltene Municipality, Viresi Parish, the company plans to become the sole producer of canola wax in Latvia, creating job opportunities for those who lost employment due to the closure of a local school.

In Jelgava, the support center KOPĀ for children with autism and functional impairments has already opened, and platform called Perpetoom to connect parents of children with behavioral difficulties and competent sports trainers who specialize in providing suitable sports activities for these children is being developed.

SOS Children's Villages Association in Latvia developing a concept for a social enterprise that would provide support services for young people to start an independent life. In Ēvele, Valmiera Municipality, the Youth Development Center Ēvele will provide accommodation and non-formal education for at-risk children and young people, including those with special needs, with a focus on their integration into society.

In Riga, Zaķusala, a camping site called Expedition.Camp is planned, offering accommodation for tourists and hosting survival camps led by National Armed Forces veterans for children and anyone interested. In Ķekava Municipality, STEM workshops and clubs Tech Lab Design will be available, educating children and young people about digital technologies and the use of digital devices such as laser cutters, etc.

A website - - is being planned and will provide information to cancer patients on how to enhance their recovery process through additional non-medical treatments; the company Partapis will offer the opportunity to bring in and transform old clothing into unique fashion items.

After hearing all the participant pitches, Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia presented a surprise prize - one year membership worth 150 euros to support centre KOPĀ and EKA University of Applied Sciences gave a surprise prize - a business management couching session - to the project Expedition.Camp.

The Social Business Accelerator Programme was launched in January and was open to natural and legal persons who had a social business idea or were implementing a social project with the aim of turning it into a sustainable, profitable business.
#innovation #people #community #events #projects #sustainable
Tools developed to help social enterprises measure and evaluate their impact
Social entrepreneurs who are involved in the green economy have a unique opportunity to learn about successful business stories in neighbouring countries and to gain ideas and experience. We present a toolkit for impact and self-assessment and a user guide for impact measurement facilitators.

NewDoor, together with its foreign partners The Lithuanian Social Business Association, BrainLog (Denmark), and SwIdeas (Sweden), have successfully completed the international project "Green Impact Measured" and are presenting the results to the public.

The situation analysis and a compendium of good practices and inspiring stories have already been made public:, the Guide for Facilitators to drive impact self-assessment can be found here:

About the project
Impact measurement is one of the most important criteria and commitments for social business to demonstrate the impact and change it creates in society. The ability to measure impact is also a sign of social business maturity.

Measuring impact is important for a business to be able to assess for itself whether it is actually solving problems and to know if it is achieving its core mission. It is also important to be able to communicate impacts to the public, stakeholders and potential investors who are increasingly asking for impact assessment as a form of accountability.

"Working directly with social businesses, we find that they often struggle to measure the impact they create. That is why we initiated the "Green Impact Measured" project to respond to the social business ecosystem's needs and help social businesses operating in the green economy assess the impact they are creating using innovative tools. A training guide is now publicly available for impact measurement experts. It will inspire and guide social entrepreneurs in the right direction during workshops to evaluate the available indicators and methods. Case studies of other successful impact measurement projects will serve as an effective learning tool," says Viktorija Bražiūnaitė, Director of LISVA and Project Manager of the "Measuring Green Impact" project.

Other Baltic and Nordic countries are facing similar impact measurement challenges. Measuring impact is challenging for social businesses because it is often unclear how best to measure their impact with limited resources and when. And the social innovations they create often do not have standard ways or indicators for measuring impact.

The diversity of experiences in different countries

The project partners visited 4 countries - Denmark, Sweden, Latvia and Lithuania - to learn more about the work of social businesses to find out more about their government and local government support and to learn more about how they measure and evaluate the impact they are making. They also sought to share good practices by presenting unique examples of social business in their countries.

The project analysed and presented in their study the experiences of 8 social businesses: Burka, Owa (Latvia), Aterbruket and Folkets Pops (Sweden), Mes žydim and Textale (Lithuania), Nordjysk Fodevare Overskud and Comeback (Denmark). All of these social businesses specialise in the green economy and focus on responsible use of the environment and energy resources.

Project webpage –

The Green Impact Measured project is funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers' Office in Lithuania's Nordplus Adult 2022 programme.

NewDoor CEO and co-founder Diana Lapkis is one of the TOP100 Women in Social Entreprise 2023
Today the team at NewDoor is bursting with pride because our director and co-founder Diana Lapkis is selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Social Enterprise 2023!

After receiving over 900 applications from incredible women leaders in the European social enterprise ecosystem, EN together with an expert jury has compiled the list of the Top 100 Women in Social Enterprise who have demonstrated significant social and/or environmental impact in 2023. Through this initiative EN spotlights these women's impact journeys and achievements. Their stories inspire and connect other women and changemakers encouraging a better social enterprise ecosystem. Among this hand picked group of women are founders, CEOs, managers, initiators, and inspirational leaders who are making incredible contributions to reinventing society and gender equality in Europe and beyond.

Diana Lapkis: Most of all, my motivation comes from people that I meet at every social entrepreneurship acceleration course that we launch.
These are social project founders who dedicate their lives to supporting the vulnerable, helping those in need and building social businesses that create lasting positive change in society.
When I see these resilient people from different corners of Latvia and the world - program participants, mentors, lecturers and supporters, ever-growing and each with their unique story - I am inspired to persevere and contribute to community development!

Furthermore, we celebrate and congratulate 3 more Latvian women-leaders in this year's list: Regita Zeiļa, director at Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia, Agnese Frīdenberga, senior researcher at Centre for Public Policy PROVIDUS, and Inga Muižniece, founder of call center Sonido!
An interview with NewDoor CEO and co-founder Diana Lapkis
Diana Lapkis - CEO and co-founder of Social Entrepreneurship accelerator NewDoor. Since 2021, Diana has been a member of the Social enterprise commission within the Ministry of Welfare. The Commission assesses an applicant's eligibility for the status of social enterpreneur or the eligibility of the activities of an already registered, social enterprise.

Your involvement in social entrepreneurship? My first exposure to social entrepreneurship was back in 2013, when DOTS Foundation organised a social entrepreneurship conference. In the same year I was invited to participate in an international competition in Latvia organised by American and Israeli organisations to manage a project on the development of social entrepreneurship in Europe, which I won and created the first social entrepreneurship accelerator in Latvia and the Baltic States. Two years later, in 2015, New Door was established officially as a social entrepreneurship accelerator and platform for social innovation. New Door is one of five founders of the The Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia. SInce 2016 I teach social entrepreneurship at ISMA University of Applied Sciences and consult on social entrepreneurship. For all these 10 years I have also actively mentored social entrepreneurs both during and in between accelerators.

Three things that work well in the Latvian social entrepreneurship field already, and what do you think should be developed? First off, what matters most is that we do have social entrepreneurs in Latvia and secondly, that we have the Social entrepreneurship law. Thirdly, there are members of the ecosystem that care. Certainly, the painful issue is financial capacity. A solution and opportunities must be found to ensure the independence of social entrepreneurs so they can scale on a wider, international level.

What are the results of the New Door accelerator and what do the graduates do now? Up to 2023, 102 projects have graduated. One third of the graduates have received social entrepreneurship status. Another third continue to operate without social enterprise status but with a social impact. However, I can say that most of the graduates - 90% of them - are solving a range of relevant social issues and creating positive social impact in our society. The accelerator has certainly given them contacts, confidence and the belief that any obstacle can be overcome.

What is the best advice you have received on social entrepreneurship? Failure is also a kind of success, because that's how I learn so that I don't make the same mistake next time. Be sure not to take it negatively, not to give up when things go wrong, not to panic. Think positively and see the glass half full, not half empty.

What is your most common advice to other social entrepreneurs? I advise not to be afraid and to speak up! Don't be afraid to tell others about your idea, to speak up. Don't be afraid that someone will take over your idea, because no one will ever copy it exactly the way you intend it to be. Networking with like minded people is important, as is the skill of collaboration.

Key lessons from your work on the Social Enterprise Commission? In a year and a half, I have noticed a transformation. Entrepreneurs are more confident, more ready and more serious about becoming a social enterprise, both on the business side and on the social impact side. Entrepreneurs are diversifying their intentions and social entrepreneurship is increasingly being developed in the regions.

Three golden tips for a social entrepreneur before receiving the status?
• Belief in your idea and perseverance are indispensable elements of the courage to succeed and persevere. If you believe in your idea wholeheartedly, others will too.
• If you have a good idea, you need a supportive community around you. Keep talking about your idea, networking with others.
• There is always something more to learn. Anything you decide to do seriously takes time. The time you spend learning is also an investment in your business. There are many opportunities in Latvia to develop and test new business ideas in a real market environment - seminars, competitions, business incubators, accelerators, venture capital investment sessions and more.

If you had the opportunity to travel in time, where would you like to go in relation to social entrepreneurship? On a personal note, I would like to meet Muhammad Yunus, a Bangladeshi entrepreneur who was the first to define social entrepreneurship and who chose to dedicate his time to helping those in need. His bank provided loans to the poor, especially women, thus stabilising the financial situation of many people. Yunus believed in the ability of Bangladeshi women to generate income. In a country where women were never even allowed to vote. I would like to go there and see how women live, how their lives have changed, how their children have been able to get an education thanks to their mothers and the opportunities they have been given.

How does your day begin? I start my day with a positive charge, I have a short meditation in the morning to help me focus for the day. I also do yoga and Zumba. Every Friday or Saturday I plan my work for the following week, writing it down on a page with a pen, and only later transcribing it electronically to do a daily revision of tasks for the current day.

What is a social entrepreneur? An entrepreneur with a heart.
Do you know what you don't know about social entrepreneurship yet? Every day I learn something new.
What is your biggest work in social entrepreneurship this year? I will conduct the ninth social entrepreneurship accelerator.
How many social enterprises will there be in 2030? I really hope that at least 1500.
What is your biggest dream related to social entrepreneurship? A social enterprise in Latvia that would be an example for the whole world, because we are already an example in Europe with our social entrepreneurship law.
What motivates you to keep going? My strongest motivation are my children, my two sons.

Translated from Latvian. Source: "Sociālās uzņēmējdarbības aktualitātes - Janvāris 2023",
Congratulations to the graduates of the first Social Innovation Acceleration Course for NGOs!
We at NEWDOOR are very happy to support socially impactful projects that change society for the better and are undeniably necessary for different social groups. Each project is unique and has its own target audience, so we believe that they will continue to grow and change people's lives for the better. We are also very glad that NGOs from all regions of Latvia have been represented!

We would like to thank our mentors, lecturers and supporters - the Nordic Council of Ministers' Office in Latvia - for trusting us to implement such an initiative for the first time. This is just the beginning!

Among the participants were NGOs such as A-method, which is currently working on a project to address the widespread problem of burnout, Children and Youth Para Sports Association, which is raising the level of children para sports in Latvia, "Patvērums "Drošā māja", which helps women who have immigrated to Latvia and their families, as well as victims of human trafficking. The course was also attended by the mutual aid group for cancer patients "Par dzīvoti", "Mums Pieder Pasaule", which works with children and young people in the Bauska area to promote civic participation and entrepreneurship skills, as well as the association "Fonds Oikumena", which aims to create special events for hard-to-reach groups in society. Other graduates include the "Liepājas Neredzīgo biedrība" which helps more than 800 people with disabilities in the Liepaja and South Kurzeme regions; the project "Kopa", which aims to create a platform for sustainable innovation; "Gaismas Laiva", which is developing the Izpalīgs app to promote intergenerational dialogue, organize group trips and develop clothing for wheelchair users; and the Balvu Teritoriālā invalīdu biedrība, which has been active for 27 years and is now working to establish a health center for children and adults with special needs, project "UpGrade for Teens", which aims to educate young people from orphanages on everyday life issues, as well as project "All In", which is intended as a platform for vocal music therapy for children and adults with various physical and mental illnesses, and "Mājas visiem", which aims to create modular houses based on universal design principles and a community space for creative activities that is accessible to everyone, but especially the elderly and visually impaired.

The course was initiated and developed by the social innovation platform "NewDoor", in cooperation with partners from Lithuania "The Center of Tolerance" and Sweden "KalmarCo", thanks to the support of the Nordic Council of Ministers' Office in Latvia.
#innovation #people #community #events #projects #sustainable #NGO
The call to submit applications to the first social innovation acceleration course in Latvia designed specifically for non-governmental organisations
From September 5th Latvia-based non-governmental organizations are called to apply to "The NewDoor social innovation acceleration course for non-governmental organizations", the first such program in Latvia for NGO's. The opening event will take place on September 13th, held by the project organizators and partners at Nordic Council of Ministers' Office in Latvia. The event will be held in person, 18:00-19:30 at Marijas Str. 13/3 (Berga Bazaar), Riga.

The organizator of the acceleration course is the social and sustainable entrepreneurship accelerator and non-governmental organization "NewDoor". The main partner and supporter of the project is the Nordic Council of Ministers' Office in Latvia. Other partners are "The center of Tolerance" (Lithuania) and "KalmarCo" (Sweden). This year, the focus of the course will be to train employees of NGOs that offer society integration services and support measures for various social groups in Latvia, but especially to people that are seeking refuge from the war in Ukraine and are trying to integrate into Latvian society and labor market. "The "NewDoor" social innovation acceleration course for non-governmental organizations" will help the authors of the initiatives to realize their projects effectively and as soon as possible, employing modern tools and methods from the best examples of the Baltics and Nordic countries, as well as to gain inspiration and practical know-how from high level experts.

During the Open-door day event of the course on September 13th the organizators will elaborate on the concept, contents, and goals of the program. During the course the participants, led by mentors, will be able to create new and strengthen existing initiatives for social integration of refugees. The purpose of the course is to help NGOs to launch their initiatives effectively and as soon as possible by providing the initiative authors all the necessary tools, training, and encouragement for reaching their goals. This course is an opportunity to draw on the experience of Scandinavian countries in working with refugees and social integration measures. The newfound experience can be used in the operations of Latvian NGOs – to create and successfully implement innovations in tackling social integration questions for a range of social groups based in Latvia, as well as for refugees that are fleeing the aggressive dictatorships in countries like Russia, Belarus, Syria and Iran.

The course will cover topics like "Inclusive society, integration processes and social cohesion (the strengthening of relationships and a sense of solidarity among members of a community), establishing trust, soft skills (emotional intelligence, active listening etc.), obtaining financing, networking, crowdfunding, strategy development and project management skills." The experts and mentors will provide consultations and training within the framework of the program.

Nordic Council of Ministers' Office in Latvia adviser Daina Mežecka comments: "What we appreciate in the project by "NewDoor" non-governmental organization and their partners from other countries is the approach where support to Ukrainian civilians with their needs is provided smartly and practically, simultaneously strengthening the Latvian non-governmental organizations that help war refugees from Ukraine and those ready to help. In helping war refugees, a wide-reaching and long-term involvement of various institutions is necessary, as is a coordinated cooperation of the public sector and non-governmental organizations. The needs of refugees vary, moreover, the needs of refugees that have just reached Latvia and of those residing here since Spring do so significantly. Therefore, it is essential that the helping non-governmental organizations receive invigoration themselves in the form of new methods and inspiration so they can replenish their resources and avoid burnout. "New Door" non-governmental organization and its partner organizations are fully responsible for the program of the social innovation acceleration course, and we will follow the project with interest."

The course will take place online starting from October 5th and continue until November 16th. Applications to the course will be accepted until September 19th by filling the following form:
Further information can be found at and by inquiring at The final event of the graduates of the acceleration course will take place in December, the date of the event will be specified later.

The partners of the acceleration course are "NewDoor" non-governmental organization, the Nordic Council of Ministers' Office in Latvia, "The center of Tolerance" (Lithuania) un "KalmarCo" (Sweden).
NGO NewDoor's capacity building for
the development of social entrepreneurship
With the support of the "Active Citizens' Fund" program, the project "Promotion of Sustainable Development of the NGO NewDoor" will be implemented. The objectives of the project are: to stabilize the association's financial flow; build international experiene exchange; train employees; enhane unions activity and communication plans as well as further advance the social entrepreneurship accelerators program.

In order to achive the goals, NewDoor will implement the following activities:
  • evaluate progress and processes done so far,
  • update the strategy and action plan,
  • take measures to stabilize the financial flow,
  • participate in events / projects of networks of international organizations,
  • undergo staff and managment training
  • establish and implement the communication and public relations plan,
  • improve the training materials of the startup acceleration program
Find out more about the AIF and NewDoor project HERE.
NewDoor 2021 graduates present 12 social business projects
The 6th social entrepreneuership accelerator "NewDoor" has been completed. 12 social projects and 19 participants have graduated from the program.
Thanks to the support of the British Council in Latvia and the US Emabssy Riga, the most perspective projects received money prizes for their start fund.
The Most Promising Project prize was given to Aija Vule's company "Kustības brīvība" (Freedom of Movement). It develops innovative ideas for active recreation by the water for families where one of the members has a movement disability.
The Social Impact Award went to two projects - Sober Soul and Emotion Lab. Sober Soul team is led by Jānis Skrastiņš and Agnese Poikāne. They are developing a 90-day digital support program for people with various addictive disorders. On the contrast, Ance Gricmane's social enterprise "Emotion Lab", combines the fields of education, health and social by creating face-to-face and app based self-growth master classes with elements of Art Therapy.
The award of Most Inclusive Idea was received by the company "Labojam". It will offer website development services and IT consulting where all empoyees are people with some sort of physical disability or mental disorder in order to support equal rights and break stereotypes.
"Pitch night" and graduation ceremony can be rewatched HERE.

NewDoor 2019-2020
Launch Night video report
NewDoor 2019-2020 LAUNCH NIGHT
On behalf of NewDoor board, our sponsors, supporters and mentors, we would like to say how proud we are for this colourful bouquet of social entrepreneurs, NewDoor alumni, that walk firm on the road of bringing social impact and added value to Latvian society and the world. Our deep gratitude goes to British Council Latvia - without you the accelerator NewDoor 2019-2020 wouldn't take place, to United States Embassy in Riga - for allowing us to invite more knowledgable lectors and for setting up the prize, to Embassy of Sweden in Riga - for helping us to provide lectures on sustainability and environmentally friendly ways to do business, to OraculeTang Space - for providing us a cozy and technologically advanced environment for study and work! #peopletopeople #newdoor2020 #socialentrepreneurship #sociālauzņēmejdarbība
NewDoor 2019-2020 4th module
The last module of NewDoor 2019-2020 took place on February 8 and 9, 2020. Participants have gone through a "trial by a business plan" and survived. We sincerely thank the jury of mentors that took time to listen to presentations on the future social entrepreneurs business plans. Later in the module we had a special guest from Kalmar, Sweden, Nicholas Murigu, brought to us by the Swedish Embassy in Riga. Nicholas delivered an excellent seminar on "Why your business should be sustainable and how?".
NewDoor 2019-2020 3d module
The NewDoor accelerator module nr. 3 took place on weekend of January 18-19. This was the hardest and most challenging module. Participants were learning about finance. Learn how to form a budget, write a buisness plan, how to raise funds and what should be understood about accounting. The tension was interlaced with smiles, because NewDoor lecturers and mentors are always ready to help.
NewDoor 2019-2020 2nd module video report
NewDoor 2019-2020 2nd module
2nd module is complete! We are thankful to all our mentors and experts who were able to give their time in order to comment on our participants presentations. Later we dove into particularities of selling services to municipalities, demystifying of the marketing mix, deciding on visual identity, choosing sales channels, learning how to build good relations with media people and two days culminated in a four hour hands-on workshop with digital marketing professional Ralfs Goba.
NewDoor 2019-2020 1st module
We have completed our 1st module and our participants - 16 projects chosen out of 77 applicants - have gone home with new knowledge and new tasks. After a lecture on Social Entrepreneurship in Latvia and around the world, we have gotten into Economic basics, Product Development and Branding. The module has been completed by a special guest lecturer Steve Savides (UK) who's taught us on the science of Sales, Resilience for entrepreneurs and stress management in sales situations.
NewDoor 2019-2020 speed interviews
Yesterday 20 experts met with 32 social innovators in order to choose initiatives that will go through this year's entrepreneurship acceleration program. Now we analyze the expert evaluations and soon final decisions will be made. One thing is clear - the choice is very tough and there are great projects here that can easily fill two accelerators.
We are inspired and thankful for your trust!

Understanding of social enterprises is growing
Nowadays it is only normal to think about the social impact of a company and an individual, so understanding of social enterprises is also growing
(Go to article in LV)
Radio Baltkom program on social entrepreneurship
Maria Povilaite and Olga Lezina on the radio program "Morning at Baltcom" talked about the Olga's social enterprise and NewDoor accelerator, which was made possible thanks to the support of the British Council Latvia.
(Go to video in Russian)
NewDoor 2019-2020 Open House event
On September 25, 2019, NewDoor brought together potential accelerator participants, current and future mentors for the Open House event. Thanks to everyone who came, listened, asked questions and shared their reflections and ideas to build a bigger and stronger community of Latvian social entrepreneurs and to make life in our country a bit better.
New Door has participated in the roundtable discussion about empowerment and civil society held within the Emerging Europe Leaders' Meeting and Awards.
Go to the article in LV
We are honoured to represent NewDoor as a nominee at the Emerging Europe Award for Equality friendly initiative of the year.
Despite not winning an award this time, we thank our supporters and friends for the opportunity to be present in London and represent Latvia at this important event - Sonido, Embassy of Latvia in the UK, LIAA in London and especially Guntis Rubins, British Council Latvia.
Maria Povilaite: Give an opportunity to participate in social problem solution to communities!
The past year has been significant for social entrepreneurship in Latvia with the entry into force of Social Entrepreneurship Law.
(Go to article in LV)
How at NewDoor Latvian and foreign social entrepreneurs are taught to build a sustainable business
Video in Russian.
The Launch Night NewDoor 2017- 2018