Social enterprises — a smart but yet underestimated response to crises and emergency situations
Keywords: response to crisis, social enterprise, social entrepreneurship, social impact, support mechanisms, Latvia
Language: In English

Social enterprises, successfully merging their social and business missions, have proved to be valuable players in economies around the world, including Latvia. Social entrepreneurship by no means is an easy endeavour — social entrepreneurs are constantly facing numerous challenges that often leave them at a disadvantaged position compared to commercial enterprises. In situations of crises or emergencies, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, some social enterprises in Latvia have managed to innovate and successfully adapt, but others have faced uncertainty and have found it difficult to make ends meet. Social enterprises are more vulnerable than ever. However, at the same time, they are invaluable service providers and a much-needed assistance to the people in need and social groups at most risk. Considering the double-bottom lines that social enterprises are able to achieve, they would deserve significantly more support from the public authorities compared to conventional enterprises. Despite the significant potential of social enterprises to alleviate the immediate social challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, their role remains severely underrated in Latvia. Public authorities need to reconsider the provision of enhanced, comprehensive support systems to the social entrepreneurship sector which guarantee high returns on investment in terms of a healthier (both physically and mentally) and economically stronger post-crisis society.