From 11 to 14 April, in the framework of the international LEADER project “Sustainable Entrepreneurship in Countryside”, 9 businesspeople from the Rural Partnership “Lielupe” and 8 entrepreneurs from the Liepāja District Partnership Area participated in the experience exchange trip in Estonia, Green Riverland and Development Centre regions.
Estonian colleagues gave the participants the opportunity to visit and explore different places, businesses and farms within four days. Any existing or emerging entrepreneur could find something useful. The program included various rural entreprises:
Recreation complex Vanaõue Holiday Center; Soomaa National Park; Kuusikaru Farm (apple processing and cultivation); Energy Farm (plant growing and processing), Lahmue Manor (small, historic manor); Olustvere manor (manor complex, where visitors can create glass or clay products themselves); Lauli Loovstuudio in Kadrina (creative place with self-made souvenirs); Hõbeda goat farm (processing goats’ milk, goat breeding); Arma riding farm (horse breeding, riding, recreation complex); Palmse Manor (a large and luxurious manor with a long history) and other activities, which showed how many opportunities exist for developing business in the countryside.
What do the participants say about the trip?
“The exchange of experiences gave inspiration for further developing our business and clearly demonstrated the importance of the idea, the purpose and the clear vision of how to achieve it. I have gained a very valuable experience in the successful development of rural tourism through project financing “;
“The exchange of experiences has given a great inspiration to continue, and has created a new and useful contacts not only among Estonian and Finnish colleagues, but also among Latvian entrepreneurs”;
“Recognition – nothing is impossible, you just need to do it”;
“We have established cooperation with Estonian drink producers – juice producers and wineries, which in the future might be interested in producing one of our branded products, because right now we are actively seeking a partner”;
“The Estonian businessmen addressed the serious and planned approach to work to achieve their goals. Leader support is essential to develop important and meaningful jobs in developing your business. The journey is in line with the objective of the project and the title “Sustainable entrepreneurship in Countryside”. The journey helped to understand that small manufacturers need to dare to produce high-end “premium” products that are superior to supermarket mass products in their respective niches.”
The goal of the project is to support the sustainability of rural micro-enterprises through international cooperation, encourage rural youth and target groups of the project – the young generation of companies to stay in rural areas and become economically sustainable, as well as exchange marketing experience and knowledge. a special focus is on young entrepreneurs who can participate in business exchanges and networking between regions.
The project involves three Estonian-Finnish rural partnerships, the Rural Partnership “Lielupe” and the Liepaja District Partnership from Latvia.
Sanda Lakutijevska, “Lielupe” project manager
Photos: Atis Luguzs, Sanda Lakutijevska
The territory of Lielupe is situated in the southern part of Latvia in Zemgale plain combining the territories of Jelgava and Ozolnieki counties as a LEADER area.
The northernmost LEADER-region in Estonia is Arenduskoda (Development Center) with its beautiful nature and exciting cultural heritage.