Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in Turkey

Turkey has started to take an important role in the world’s “entrepreneurship ecosystem”, especially during the past decade. Within this period, also three main factors including public institutions, private sector institutions and nongovernmental organizations played critical roles. While evaluating the developments of entrepreneurship ecosystem, I would like to mention briefly how these factors interactively support each other to encourage both the entrepreneur and investor profile.


The financial support provided to the entrepreneurs by the public is diversified and strengthened by the channels of TUBITAK (Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey) and KOSGEB (Small and Medium Enterprises Development Organization). These developments are very pleasing to our entrepreneurs. Within this context, it necessary to mention Techno-Initiative Capital Support Program (BiGG) prepared especially with the partnership of university technocities, technoparks and technology development areas that TUBITAK calls implementing institutions. This program aims to encourage qualified entrepreneurship by supporting activities from the idea stage to the marketing stage and to create start-ups that can develop high-tech products and services. On the other hand, KOSGEB’s support up to 370 thousand TL to entrepreneurs, within the scope of “Entrepreneurship Development Support Program”, and the taxational advantages offered to the companies admitted to technology development areas are just a few of the state’s supports for entrepreneurship. In addition, the government supports not only the entrepreneurs, but also those who will invest in these enterprises. For example, Ministry of Treasury and Finance created Individual Participation Capital System in 2013 in order to develop entrepreneurship ecosystem. This system allows individual investors who invest in start-ups to benefit from certain tax advantages. Additionally, in order to be able to support more the technology-centred enterprises with Venture Capital Support Program, TUBITAK activates Venture Capital Funds with public contributions and encourages the participation of universities’ technology transfer offices and technology development areas in these funds.


Especially the nongovernmental organizations (NGO) established on behalf of business world conduct various activities to create angle investment networks with their own capital stock and experiences, to set programs specific to the needs of entrepreneurs and to raise the awareness of its members about entrepreneurship ecosystem. Sometimes this is carried out by providing the capital needed for start-ups to achieve growth rapidly, and sometimes by providing mentoring support. These supports become more corporate over time and are maintained professionally with the incubation and acceleration structures. I also would like to point out that NGOs are supported by certain public institutions such as Development Agencies while these structures are being established.


NGOs with high international network and communication capacity also guided start-ups about exports and new market. The voluntary contributions of NGOs to the entrepreneurship ecosystem ensured to increase their vision and their response in society On the other hand, since the start-ups have grown dramatically over a period of five to six years, our entrepreneurs became prestigious and experienced business people and started to create two-way benefits actively in these NGOs. Entrepreneurs, especially in the field of technology, demand to manage the transformation of trade and the economy of the future. These entrepreneurs expanding their business gradually also began to develop investor identity by participating in angel investment networks. Thus, the entrepreneurship ecosystem continued to
strengthen by feeding itself within a cycle.


When we look at private sector, I can say that startups are considered as R&D, innovation partner and solution partner in many companies. Developing a new product or service is a long and costly process for a corporate company; however, start-ups offer the opportunity to take action quickly with brilliant ideas. Focusing on the solution of a particular problem, startup companies can test business models blended with innovative perspective and technology in the market and produce value-added products and services. As a requirement of the changing and transforming employer identity, also the corporate companies both try to spread the in-house entrepreneurship and find the opportunity to renew their products and services by organizing incubation and acceleration programs and competitions in their own sectors.


Thanks to the events of “Startup EXPO” and “Invest Up” organized under the leadership of DEİK Turkey-Saudi Arabia Business Council in April, DEİK, where I served as the vice president, became one of the institutions contributing entrepreneurship ecosystem. President of DEİK Nail OLPAK said “These events are important since they are the first programs in DEİK’s history with the themes of entrepreneurship and start-up” about Startup EXPO and Invest Up. Additionally, we will continue to do our best to ensure that our business continues sustainably and inclusively.

Turkey-Saudi Arabia Business Council Deputy Chairman Erdem Dereli

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