This article is an excerpt from report "Municipal tools for development of social enterprises in municipalities".
The full report in Latvian language, which was published in the beginning of 2021, can be accessed and downloaded here and here. The report was written by PROVIDUS’ leading policy analyst and a board member of the Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia — Agnese Frīdenberga.
Municipalities and social enterprises – cooperation and support
Municipalities play an important role in the social entrepreneurship ecosystem in Latvia, both as potential cooperation partners and customers, and as supporters of social entrepreneurship. It is in the interests of local governments to have strong social enterprises in their territories, which would help to solve the social problems that have already been in the field of attention of local governments, but no local government is obliged to support specific social enterprises. Municipalities can choose who to cooperate with, what initiatives and how to support it, it is related to both the strategic goals and opportunities of the municipalities and the desired result.
Municipalities have a great opportunity to be both – a cooperation partner of social enterprises and to support the emergence of new social enterprises in the county or city by creating a full-fledged support system for the promotion of social entrepreneurship.
In this material, we have compiled recommendations and examples of good practice on how the municipality can be actively involved in creating a social business environment in its region. The material has been created taking into account the legislation in force at the beginning of 2021. The Social Entrepreneurship Association of Latvia (SEAL) is open to suggestions, additions, as well as comments on this material.
We would like to thank the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia and the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Latvia, as well as the municipalities of Rēzekne, Līvāni and Ogre for providing their comments during the preparation of the material.
9 ways how municipalities can foster development of social enterprises:
1. Municipality as a contact point.
• Determining the responsible person;
• Directory of social enterprises;
• Networking and meetings with the municipality;
• Mapping of “social entrepreneurs”.
2. Infrastructure and activities for the establishment of and support for social enterprises.
• Ensuring the availability of municipal infrastructure;
• Educational activities;
3. Providing exposure.
• Active communication about social enterprises;
• Inclusion in informative materials;
• Inclusion / involvement in events organized by the municipality.
4. Grants programs and other financial support programs.
• Grant programs to support social enterprises;
• Specific criteria / additional points for social enterprises in existing grant schemes.
5. Policy planning documents.
• Sustainable development strategy;
• Development program.
6. Delegation of administrative tasks.
• Delegating municipality’s tasks to social enterprises.
7. Work groups and advisory boards.
• Inclusion of representatives of social enterprises in advisory councils;
• Establishment of a working group for the development of social entrepreneurship.
8. Municipality as recipient of services.
• Purchase of goods / services;
• Socially responsible public procurement;
• Preferential agreements.
9. Tax discounts and transfer of property for limited time use or ownership.
• Real estate tax rebate;
• Transfer of property to / from property free of charge.
The Latvian Association of Social Entrepreneurship is a member organization with the aim of promoting the development of social entrepreneurship in Latvia. We unite like-minded organizations, companies and people who believe that social entrepreneurship in Latvia has a huge potential and are ready to participate in the formation and strengthening of this industry.
The Latvian Association of Social Entrepreneurship was founded in the autumn of 2015 and operates in three main directions: advocacy at the local, regional and national levels, improving the capacity of members, creating a platform for the exchange of experience and knowledge, as well as informing the public about social entrepreneurship. At the Latvian level it draws the attention of local governments to social entrepreneurship opportunities, as well as participated in the development of the social entrepreneurship support program. We also cooperate with other regional and national decision-makers and policy makers to create a favorable environment for social entrepreneurship in Latvia. We help our members achieve their goals in a variety of ways by providing joint activities, fast and efficient information exchange, the latest news on financial and collaboration opportunities, and consulting support.
The Latvian Association of Social Entrepreneurship participates in events at various levels to inform the wider public about the opportunities provided by social entrepreneurship and maintains the largest source of information in Latvian about social entrepreneurship – www.socialauznemejdarbiba.lv.