Experience exchange visit
From Zemgale to Trondheim
During the implementation of the EEA grant project "Entrepreneurship in Zemgale", six Latvian representatives from various NGOs and social enterprises went on a three-day trade mission to Trondheim. The mission’s program was organized in cooperation with the Innovation Circle Network and other partners in Norway.
Experience exchange visit in the field of social entrepreneurship
In Trondheim Latvians met with a project partner Innovation Circle Network, learned about potential cooperation opportunities in the field of social entrepreneurship and networked with each other.
The participants visited the municipality of Melhus in Norway, as well as the social enterprise Mersmark, where female refugees from different countries as Ukraine, Congo, Eritrea, Vietnam and others are integrated into the labour market while working in a catering company. These women learn to cook under the guidance of a chef and learns the Norwegian language. During the existence of the company, more than 30 women have been integrated into the labour market. Refugees learn a profession, improve their Norwegian language skills and at the same time prepare healthy food for children and students. Mersmark prepares meals for preschool students, but also serves banquets and pop-up events. Currently, the company faces a lot of interest from potential new refugee members, as well as a demand from employers for well-trained and reliable employees.
The members of the mission also had the opportunity to see the everyday life of the Lundamo Kindergarten and walk through its premises.
The participants could also gain valuable insights and ideas about social entrepreneurship from guest speakers from Sweden and Scotland. It was also possible to learn about the differences in the understanding of social entrepreneurship, its types and the industries in which such companies operate.
Although, unfortunately, due to the snow (there was still a lot of snow in the mountains in Trondheim at the end of April), it was not possible to visit the Powergården (Power Road) farm in person in the mountains, but its owner talked about its activities remotely. The NGO runs a large complex of mountain lodges and employs people with addictions to improve their mental health by being outside, working and having a good time. People who suffer from gambling and drug addiction feel useful to society and motivated to heal by doing various farm chores in outdoor therapy.
On the final day, participants talked about possible joint projects and areas of interest for cooperation in the workshop. The members of the mission found a lot in common with each other as well as representatives of KBT Vocational School and Innovation Circle Network.
"It was very interesting to visit a Norwegian educational institution and experiencing how social goals can be implemented through it, such as employing immigrants and training them for a profession. I got a lot of ideas for setting up the learning environment, inspiration for everyday life and contacts in Norway for new projects. The opportunity to get to know our delegation members better was also valuable", says Egita Matulena, participant of a visit.
The project “Entrepreneurship in Zemgale” is implemented with the support of the European Economic Area Financial Instrument for 2014-2021. The total budget of the project is 969,256 EUR, of which the co-financing of the EEA grants is 793 867, 70 EUR.
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