The fourth “Be involved” seminar designed according to an interactive “Get inspired – help – share – analyze” concept took place in Jelgava on 31 May 2018. The event was organized at the Faculty of Economics and Social Development of Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies. More than 40 participants from Latvian and Lithuanian cross-border regions gathered together to immerse themselves in the world of entrepreneurship.
During the first session, two representatives of major businesses in Zemgale took floor. Ms. Krista Švāne told a story of “Karameļu darbnīca”, a well-known Latvian producer of handmade caramels, marshmallows, jelly candies and other sweets. The company started its activities in 2014 with only one employee and a turnover of around 37 thsd. EUR per annum. In 2017, “Karameļu darbnīca” employed 17 persons and its turnover exceeded half a million. “Believe in what you are doing!” – said Krista when finishing her speech.
The following speaker, Ms. Liene Veismane, presented “Anne Nature” natural cosmetics brand belonging to “Anne Export” Ltd. The founder of the company is Skaidrīte Dzene, who holds a PhD in Agrarian Economics. In 2009, she moved to Turkey, got married and gave birth to 3 beautiful kids. At this time, she identified a free market niche in her new country of residence: organic cosmetics for the whole family. This is how “Anne Nature” was born, “Anne” meaning “mother” in Turkish. Now the company offers 7 ECOCERT certified products, which can be purchased in 40 sales points in Turkey and Latvia.
During the second session, representatives of newly-established businesses shared their experiences, achievements, challenges and problems. Ginta Kronberga, who co-owns a wood production company “Eco Pack” together with her husband, told about a new business line that had recently been launched: educational wooden toys and games for children with special needs, which had been developed in cooperation with a Montessori teacher. Her motto is “If you can dream it, you can do it!”
Lienīte Vītiņa-Zustrupa, whose company “Miesai un Garam” offers sauna treatments, was very emotional when speaking about her life path. She started her career as a Sales Manager and quite succeeded at this role, but at some point realized that she felt good only at weekends, when she could be closer to nature. “I did not want to participate in this rat race anymore,” – said Lienīte. She went to sauna school in Latvia and became a sauna master. When she does not have clients, Ms. Vītiņa-Zustrupa collects herbs for own handmade scrubs and makes whisks. Now she is absolutely 100% happy!
Olga Volkova has been making leather accessories for around 10 years, but has recently got excited about a new business line: colourful and fashionable sportswear. Olga is lucky to have a reliable partner – her friend, zumba instructor. Seminar participants were impressed with photographs of the first clothing collection created by the two ladies.
Afterwards, event participants were divided in groups to discuss presentations delivered by the entrepreneurs. They made recommendations, as well as came up with positive and negative business development scenarios, which may be faced in the future.
During the third session, two speakers presented their business ideas. Baiba Krastiņa told about her aspiration to establish a dressmaking company. Ausma Kalniņa informed the audience about alpaca breeding possibilities in Latvia. Everybody was captivated by this charming animal.
During the concluding fourth session, the participants got acquainted with two interesting business cases: “Deeper” – a producer of wireless fish finders from Lithuania and “Blankmind” – pupils’ educational enterprise from Latvia offering unusual colourful T-shirts.