Agenda Main Cuff

Entrepreneurship and Start-up Ecosystem in Türkiye

The start-ups have recently become the subject of many studies both around the world and in our country. Certain definitions are made both in business life and in the literature and ideas are exchanged. The nature of the term start-up focuses on entrepreneurship. Looking at entrepreneurship, we can easily say that the wishes of the entrepreneurs are different because entrepreneurs take into account all kinds of financial and non-financial risks as they look for various methods, solutions, and plans for the business to be “started” and moreover, they want the dynamic of the team they lead and themselves to be decorated with different colours. In addition, competition is intense in the world of entrepreneurs and they must be aware of this reality because a realistic attitude is the main element of entrepreneurship. This is exactly what makes an entrepreneur different: The ability to chase dreams without breaking away from reality. Imagination and reality are like a sailboat, if you want your sailboat to move forward, you cannot ignore the wind, you must turn it in your favour and cooperate with the wind.

“Start-ups” fed by the idea of entrepreneurship, on the other hand, started to play a role where they are critical elements for the socio-economic development of countries where entrepreneurship, innovative ideas, and investments are significant. The world adopts new entrepreneurship models, namely start-ups, for these reasons, because the growth of economies through new start-ups is a factor that increases socio-economic welfare. The flexible, solution-oriented and adaptive structure of start-ups in general, and their features such as rapid growth and making great impacts lead the world to start-ups.

Looking at the start-up ecosystem, we see that “being innovative” is significant because start-ups incorporate innovative services and products. Therefore, start-ups lead to the emergence of companies that take risks in terms of entrepreneurship and create global impacts in case they achieve success. The production of advanced and high-tech products and services, the exportability of these products and services, and the advancement of opportunity entrepreneurship, technology entrepreneurship, R&D studies and innovative studies are especially significant for the growth of developing economies. The report of PWC indicates that the world economy is expected to grow by 130% by 2050, and when we think of our country at this point, it may be possible to raise our developing economy to the status of developed countries through start-ups. Therefore, Türkiye needs innovative perspectives, innovative entrepreneurs and innovative business lines in order to develop its national economy.

Looking at the start-ups and the general view of the start-up ecosystem in our country, we can tell that the Turkish economy is suitable for competition, the private sector has the potential to initiate different start-ups, and the public sector has a regulatory role that can cooperate with the private sector. Besides, in recent years, significant R&D and innovation projects, innovative collaborations, and start-ups have started to attract more attention in Türkiye because government incentives and entrepreneurial capital have become closer in cooperation. As a result, investments that concern start-ups such as technocities, technoparks, R&D centres, incubation centres, etc. have recently become more prominent. For example, the data of the Ministry of Industry and Technology of the Republic of Türkiye shows that by December 2021, the total number of companies “conducting R&D studies by operating in technology development zones” has exceeded 7,300. Or, we can tell that the technoparks/technocities defined by YÖK (Council of Higher Education) to universities in our country are significant for start-ups in terms of their entrepreneurial role. In addition, the increase in the number of projects supporting the entrepreneurship and start-up ecosystem of institutions such as TÜBİTAK and the increasing interest in these projects can be found in the studies that will contribute to the entrepreneurship and start-up ecosystem in Türkiye.

The entrepreneurship market is growing day by day and the First Quarter 2022 report prepared by KPMG Türkiye and 212 shows that Türkiye’s start-up ecosystem has grown and received an investment amounting to $1.3 billion in this first quarter. For example, Getir was reflected in the media as a start-up that made an overwhelming impression in Europe, reaching a valuation of over $11.5 billion in March 2022. On the other hand, Dream Games, a significant start-up in the game industry that keeps Turkish entrepreneurs busy, managed to maintain its reputation by increasing its valuation to over $2.5 billion. Spyke Games, also from the game industry, went down in history as the start-up with Türkiye’s largest seed funding amounting to $55 million in January 2022 and another start-up, a famous one in the software industry, Insider, was Türkiye’s 6th unicorn, reaching a valuation exceeding $1 billion in February 2022. Looking at this data, we may as well tell that the start-up ecosystem in Türkiye has made progress and contributed to our developing economy.

As mentioned, the start-up ecosystem is, by nature, open to growth in a competitive market and innovative, and the importance of start-ups is increasing day by day as a result of changes on a daily basis, developing technologies, and innovative ideas. Just like the start-ups we mentioned, many other start-ups are trying to make their name known and contribute to the economy of our country. Successful start-ups emerging from Türkiye’s start-up ecosystem will pave the way for new start-ups and will undoubtedly contribute to the economy of our developing country. The points we should pay attention to are as follows: increasing the partnership of the public and private sectors, encouraging start-ups and entrepreneurs, and most importantly, listening to the ideas of young people, who are our light, and walking shoulder to shoulder with them. This way, we can rise to the level of contemporary civilizations, produce our high-value-added products ourselves, and take our place in the international market. Increasing support and interest in the start-up ecosystem and taking steps to transform knowledge into practice, labour, technology, and capital will benefit all of us.

Dr. R. Erdem ERKUL

Chairperson of DEİK Digital Technologies Business Council

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