Entrepreneurship in Turkey
Entrepreneurship is increasing in Turkey. The country suffered from very high inflation rates of up to 100% for the last 10 years. Entrepreneurial projects have had a difficult times finding financial support because of a lack of loans available with reasonable interest rates. However the recent growth of the economy, decreasing inflation rates and possible membership to the European Union. Turkey is a good trade partner for U.S. international business firms.
Turkey’s advantages include: (1) low labor costs; (2) production of goods that have a ready market in the U.S., including textiles, leather, and craft products; (3) a political structure that the constitution mandates to remain secular; (4) aspirations to join the EU; (5) membership in NATO; and (6) a declining inflation rate.
Of all nations with a predominantly Muslim population, Turkey is the most attractive to western businesses. After WWI under the direction of Mustafa Kemal, otherwise known as Ataturk, Turkey emerged from the disaster of the Ottoman Empire with a modernized legal code, the Turkish language with a western alphabet, a reorganzied military, and a constitution that mandated the separation of church and state. The integrity of the constitution was to be guaranteed by the military, and over the last several decades Turkey has managed to avoid a military government. The influence of the West, through NATO and the EU, has softened somewhat the hand of the military in Turkish politics. Istanbul, located at the entrance to the straits leading to the Black Sea, is a major city and major port. It offers great opportunities to take advantage of the resources from a vast geographical area that funnel through that marvelous city.
- Endeavor Entrepreneurs (Turkey) – are those poised to develop new technologies and innovations that will transform societies and create thousands of jobs and generate millions in wages and revenues in developing countries – but lack the role models and networks to reach their potential. Each month they hold roundtables to leverage the experience and expertise of our network in discussing the most common management and entrepreneurial challenges in an informal setting. Along with EE from Latin America and South Africa, they met with the Boston Business Community with a goal to advance private sector development in emerging markets.
- Cisco Systems to invest up to $275 million in Turkey over next five years. One of the investment initiatives is for a Cisco Entrepreneurship Institute set up between Cisco, the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) and the Turkish government, to teach skills for opening and running small businesses.
- Growing interest in women’s entrepreneurship since the beginning of the 1990’s due to women’s entrepreneurship development activities by public institutions and civil society organizations. This has been seen as an increasingly solution to women’s unemployment and means by which women can have a certain degree of economic independence.
- The small entrepreneurship project (funded by Japanese Grant Fund) was utilized to evaluate the banking sector and credit policies with a focus on their effects on women entrepreneurs. These organizations were evaluated to identify ways to serve in provision of fiscal and economic services to develop women’s entrepreneurship.
- Expected economic growth to be 4.5% in 2008 and 4.3% in 2009. With GDP growth to be around 4-4.5% a year in 2008-09.
- Businessmen Allen Collinsworth has been a leading entrepreneur in Turkey and believes that doing his best entails bridging people and businesses locally and internationally. His success in Turkish business has been being respectful of traditions and values.
- Progressive governments policies protect ideas and encourage entrepreneurship accelerate growth – growth that has the potential to create opportunity for all Turks and improve their standard of living (US Department of Commerce).
- Cem Sertoglu – General Partner at iLab Ventures (Turkey’s premier technology VC firm). He is the creator of Mobile Monday Istanbul, a networking platform for wireless and internet industry professionals.
- Ken Morse, Managing Director of the MIT Entrepreneurship Center, is actively involved in promoting venture capital in Turkey.
- Small & medium scale enterprise development in Southeast Anatolia (GIDEM) is a sector developed by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) of Turkey to prepare analytical examination on women’s entrepreneurship opportunities in southeastern Anatolia. Established a Women Entrepreneurship Center in Sanliurfa with the government and Harran University. Along with an internship program for female university students to introduce them to business environment and to encourage their entrepreneurship potential. This is all due to the still prevalent gender equality within Turkey.
- Turkey is ranked 43 out of 178 economies for ease of starting a business.
- Pozitron, www.pozitron.com, a mobile and alternative communications solution provider based in Turkey, won the Global Business Plan Contest sponsored by the Harvard Business School’s Entrepreneurship Club. Their business plan focused on its integrated mobile banking product. Everyday, over 100,000 users enjoy Pozitron’s mobile applications and more than 250,000 people communicate through Pozitron’s solutions.