As a result of the rapid development of internet and mobile technologies since the 90s, we have been going through a constant transition process where computer technologies are used in all areas of life in which objects, individuals and institutions, as well as computers, can be connected to each other, transfer data and smart applications can be produced using this data. Naturally, in this process, our daily life practices and the way we access and use information, as well as international economy and political life are rapidly changing.

Technology companies with a few years of history are leaving behind the industrial giants whose existence in the sector dates back centuries. The basis of this transformation we experience today is digital technologies and tremendous developments in these technologies. The share of digital technology sectors in the economy is increasing significantly. Research states that by 2030, 60% of the productivity increase will come from the field of digital technologies.

We foresee that the fields of web 3.0, artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud computing, 5G, and cyber security will realize the new transformation in the sector  in the upcoming period and the internet of senses, which will come to the fore with 6G, will add different dimensions to this transformation. All these developments encourage us to expect that brands will have a strong presence in the metaverse world, as this world offers a significant experience and consumption environment.

Of course, these developments also affect our country. Having a young and high population and increasing middle class, our country has been considered by global technology companies as an attractive market where technology products are consumed. Also, the national technology move initiated by our government to become a country that not only consumes technology but also designs, develops, produces and sells it to the world allowed important steps to be taken towards making our country a global actor in the field of technology and industry.

In this process, our country witnessed our first domestic electric car project, our national space program, unmanned aerial vehicles, significant developments in the field of health and cyber security, technoparks and public incentives, the number of which is increasing every year various technology-oriented events, especially TEKNOFEST. As our public institutions revealed their vision through the activities they carried out on the path of digital transformation, our start-up system made a rapid rise and started to produce not only unicorns but also decacorns.

After our first unicorn Peak Games in 2020, our ecosystem produced 5 more unicorns, namely Hepsiburada, Getir, Trendyol, Dream Games, and Insider, and through the investment they received, Trendyol and then Getir became one of our first decacorn initiatives.

In our country, significant investments have been made in digitalisation, especially in the sectors of financial technologies, telecommunications, and retail. Currently, the number of domestic and international investors in our country is increasing day by day. Having attracted worldwide attention with our first unicorn Peak Games, our gaming industry received the most investment among the industries in 2020 and maintained this trend in 2021. The investments received by our start-ups increased by 9 times compared to the previous year, reaching $1.5 billion in 2021. Thus, Türkiye became the 10th country that attracts the most investment among European countries.

In order for Türkiye to maintain its global position and its role as the “supply base” of Europe, it needs to increase and expand its productivity in the sectors where it is strong through the use of digital technologies. In order for Türkiye to maintain this position, it is of great importance to adapt to this transformation with all its elements in the economy, namely our large companies that have opened up to global markets, as well as our medium-sized companies, SMEs, production, and all processes such as design, purchasing, logistics, customer service.

These developments undoubtedly change and transform every sector and therefore the bilateral economic relations we have established with countries.

Carrying out the foreign relations of the Turkish private sector and being a significant actor in business diplomacy, DEİK has important duties in this sense. Currently, our Business Councils discuss the digital transformation issue within their own agenda, discuss both the future of the industry and its effects on bilateral country relations, with their counterparts abroad, and create projects.

Based on the importance of the twin transformation (green and digital), we started a Green Transition movement under DEİK, and we prepared the report of our project on supporting the Green Transformation in Industry, which is the project of this movement. We believe that green and digital transformation processes, which are the trend all over the world, can go hand in hand. Therefore, we decided that we should consider the issue of digital technologies under a separate heading.

Our most important task now is to follow the “best transformation” examples in various markets and sectors more closely in this transformation, to strengthen our cooperation with our country’s companies by discussing these transformations in detail with our foreign counterparts, and to support the preparation of roadmaps by presenting our suggestions to both the public and the sector regarding these examples. For this purpose, we established our 148th Business Council under the name of Digital Technologies Business Council under our Sectoral Business Councils. With the mission of expanding our DEİK member companies abroad, this new Business Council will allow us to create platforms to encourage our companies to establish partnerships for technology transfer, invest their foreign venture capital funds in technology start-ups and scale-ups in Türkiye, and increase their cooperation with venture capital funds in Türkiye.

In this process, we will try to identify the problems faced by the active companies in our country and our companies that are willing to do business abroad or already active abroad, and to ensure that suggestions are developed for public institutions on regulations.

In cooperation with our interlocutors abroad, we will establish international collaborations with leading research institutes, nanotechnology centres, technoparks, NGOs, and sectoral organizations, and we will reinforce our existing collaborations through projects.

Since digital technologies cover a significantly wide area, we are planning to establish sub-committees under the Business Council in various fields such as blockchain technology applications, gaming, cyber security, financial technologies, artificial intelligence, and 5G.

All these steps are aimed at our ultimate goal which is to ensure the digital transformation of our companies, to increase the share of technology in our production, to enable our country to become a technology centre by enabling the creation of digital corridors with other countries.

Our stakeholders will be the Ministry of Trade and the Digital Transformation Office of the Presidency of the Republic of Türkiye, Ministries and relevant public institutions, the counterparts of our DEİK Business Councils, universities, research institutes, technoparks, incubation centres, accelerators, technology producing companies, enterprises in our country and around the world, business world organizations operating on digitalisation in the relevant countries, in short, all the leading components of the technology ecosystem in our country and in the world.

Domestic and international venture capital funds, angel investors, technology, unicorns, scale-ups, international investors whose start-ups are active in the field of digital technologies in our country, domestic companies aiming to cooperate abroad in the field of technology and all companies willing to take part in the technology network may become members of our Business Council.

In a very short time after we announced our Business Council, hundreds of our companies applied for membership. I think this is a significant parameter that reveals the interest of the business world in digital technologies or how it perceives these technologies.

Lastly, due to the content of the subject, we need the vision of the youth. Because young people are more capable of noticing the new trends and emerging opportunities in the field of digital technologies and developing responses accordingly. In addition, we see a significant increase in women entrepreneurs in our entrepreneurship ecosystem. Among our 6 unicorns, we have 1 unicorn and 1 decacorn, namely Insider and Trendyol, both of which are initiatives of women. For the sustainable development of our technology ecosystem, more active participation of women is essential. From this point of view,  I would like especially our young people and women entrepreneurs to become a part of our newly established Digital Technologies Business Council.

Nail Olpak / President of DEİK