Ten female entrepreneurs from Latvia have been selected for participation in the EWA (Empowering Women in Agrifood) support program, which aims to develop women's business ideas and reduce gender inequality in the agriculture and food sector. The European Institute of Innovation and Technology programme runs simultaneously in 11 European countries, and in Latvia it is implemented by the innovation management company "Helve".
Women entrepreneurs enrolled in the EWA programme in Latvia are:
- Maija Tumanovska - frozen purees of vegetables and fresh berries for faster food preparation.
- Ieva Krole - diverse, portion-packaged fibers from various vegetables, fruits and other plants, which are convenient to take with you on your travels.
- Yulia Danilina - healthy and high-quality sprouted buckwheat products with the brand "Griksi".
- Kristine Irtisheva – liquid peat concentrate "Humico" produced in an innovative way, which can be used in spraying systems.
- Santa Sologuba - production of vegetable cheese.
- Ilze Laukalėja – a science-based app that will help determine each person's sensory perception of various food products by connecting consumer preferences with scientific data analysis.
- Edīte Ligere - various daily products rich in nutrients, supplemented with insect powder "Carlos'Bugs".
- Lienīte Litavniece - production of fruit, berry and vegetable powders from raw materials grown in Latvia, thus solving the problem of their storage.
- Liena Kazāka – healthy and quickly prepared products from organic hemp, soy and pea proteins, cold frozen berries and fruits.
- Edīte Šipko – organic cultivation of vegetables (pumpkins, potatoes, cabbage and onions).
EWA program aims to address the current gender inequality in the agriculture and food sector. By participating in the program, for five months, women gain the support of mentors, knowledge, confidence, and a network of influential partners and contacts necessary for successful business in the agricultural and food sector.
"Currently, business owners in the field of agriculture in Latvia are more often men, and as such, we should develop and use the creativity and entrepreneurial potential of women in rural areas to promote entrepreneurship and economic growth."
Each participant is matched with an individual mentor with extensive experience in the industry. Mentors, who will support the development of ideas and business plans are experienced entrepreneurs and professionals in their field.
The mentors of the ten participants of the program are:
- Lāsma Bekina - chairman of the board of "Rītausma",
- Laura Valtere - Partner at "Gateway&Partners",
- Ieva Treija - entrepreneur and owner of "Gemoss",
- Silva Dolmane - export manager at "Bioefekts",
- Alma Bērziņa - manager at "Jundas",
- Enno Ence - founder and CEO of "Milzu!",
- Elīna Novada - owner of "Svaigi.lv",
- Lota Plezere - Product manager at "Printify",
- Lāsma Ozola - LLKC project manager
- Alise Graci - founder and manager of "Felici".
During the next five months, the participants will be provided with online training, support, masterclasses on financial planning and sustainability, product positioning in the market and e-commerce, individual mentor support, and access to an international network.
The final event, where the participants will present what they have accomplished during the program, will take place on November 30 at the "Splendid Palace'' venue. Programme participants will have the opportunity to attract funding of up to 10,000 euros for further development of the business idea.
The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is successfully implementing the international support program for women entrepreneurs for the third year, covering 11 countries this year: the program is available in Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Turkey. In Latvia, the support program is organized by the innovation management company "Helve".
Helve is an open innovation management company that works to foster success through the power of collaboration. Helve furthers partner’s growth by designing tailor-made solutions to turn their challenges into transformational change initiatives.