Turkey Entrepreneurial Summit was hosted and sponsored by Borsa İstanbul Group, in cooperation with Para magazine, on November 22, 2017 in order to enhance entrepreneurs’ innovation abilities, contribute to female entrepreneurship, encourage young entrepreneurs and facilitate access to finance by entrepreneurs.
The main sponsors of the Summit were Borsa İstanbul Group, Halkbank, Taş Yapı and Turkish Airlines. BKM, Istanbul Development Agency, İTÜ Arı Teknokent, Nuh Çimento and the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) also supported the event.
The Summit started with an opening-bell ceremony, where Sports and Youth Minister Osman Aşkın Bak, Borsa İstanbul Chairman and Türkiye Wealth Fund Acting Chairman Himmet Karadağ, Takas İstanbul Chairman and Borsa İstanbul CEO Murat Çetinkaya, Merkezi Kayıt İstanbul Chairman Fatih Savaşan, Turkuvaz Media Group Press CEO Yasemin Gebeş, Turkuvaz Media Group Magazines CEO Tuncel Sunar and Business Angels Association of Turkey President Baybars Altuntaş rang the bell together.
Karadağ: “As the supermarket of Turkey, we must offer the correct products including SMEs”
In his opening speech, Borsa İstanbul Chairman and Türkiye Wealth Fund Acting Chairman Himmet Karadağ indicated that the Capital Markets Law no 6362 enacted in 2012 re-structured the capital markets and thanks to secondary arrangements, capital markets legislation in line with international norms is offered to the sector and entrepreneurs. Karadağ pointed out that the correct financing and asset alternatives are very important for the financing of sustainable development, aimed at the development of the country.
Karadağ went on to say, “It is necessary that both banks and entrepreneurs come to the capital markets and actively use securities and other capital markets products and the correct product should be offered at the correct scale through the correct methods. During the IPO campaign initiated after 2011, there have been examples that fell far from the ideal results due to the failure to position such companies in accordance with their scale. While large companies make use of the capital markets such as public offering, what about SMEs and small entrepreneurs, venture capital investments, and start-ups? They should benefit from the Private Market, offered by Turkey’s financial supermarket Borsa İstanbul. Events such as this, which bring us together with entrepreneurs, are very important. We recommend companies with strong financial statements to go public. For entrepreneurs, we offer the Private Market where they can join their forces with venture capital funds, and angel investors. We will strengthen this infrastructure through the ideas of the academic circles as well as the practitioners. We recommend entrepreneurs to make use of the opportunities offered by the Private Market”.
Arslan: “We will continue to support entrepreneurs”
Indicating that entrepreneurship offers important opportunities in creating new business areas, Halkbank CEO Osman Arslan said that everything from technology and software to financial services is a product of the entrepreneurial culture. Arslan emphasized that successful entrepreneurs add value to the economy while contributing to people’s life quality, and added that successful projects offer profitability levels well beyond venture capital and that the traditional mode of operation has changed radically.
Arslan went on to say, “We offer special loan consultancy services and training for entrepreneurs and thereby support the eco system. Turkey needs digital innovation, techno-cities, and an entrepreneurial ecosystem. As Halkbank, we will continue to support entrepreneurs, in line with our foundation mission”.
Altuntaş: “Entrepreneurship has accelerated”
Business Angels Association of Turkey President Baybars Altuntaş said, “Entrepreneurship in Turkey has accelerated significantly following the enactment of the angel investment law. Now, entrepreneurs that have ideas present these to angel investors approved by the Treasury Undersecretariat and have access to much faster and high quality financing. We believe that Turkey Entrepreneurial Summit is a very important platform since it brings together entrepreneurs with angel investors and as Business Angels Association of Turkey, we fully support this Summit at Borsa İstanbul”.
Gebeş, “Turkey has a chance thanks to the masters of technology”
Turkuvaz Media Executive Director Yasemin Gebeş said, “Turkey has not been able to settle the medium income trap problem. The United Kingdom was the only super power of the nineteenth century –such that it was not comparable to today’s super powers. As the old world’s most developed power, they discovered and took the Australian continent under control, dominated the seas thanks to their naval forces, controlled the vapor, coal and iron markets, came of age thanks to the Industrial Revolution, transported raw materials from many colonies in North America, India, Africa, and the Pacific and sold their products worldwide. At the time, the power of America, Germany, China, Japan and South Korea was negligible. However, in time, America took the lead and was followed by Germany, Japan and then China and Korea in establishing industry and making miraculous economic leaps. And these five states, without falling into the trap of medium income, produced high value added products, and caught up with the UK and even surpassed her. These success stories offer some tips to learn from. They believed in the young people. They were able to take the lead with a generation open to innovation. Now, Turkey has a chance before her, thanks to you: the masters of technology. This is an opportunity to overcome the medium income trap and also take part among the super powers of the future”.
Following the opening speeches, Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek; Science, Industry and Technology Minister Faruk Özlü; and Sports and Youth Minister Osman Bak delivered speeches.
Mehmet Şimşek: “Turkey will normalize”
In his speech, Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Mehmet Şimşek touched upon the support provided by the Loan Guarantee Fund, adding that an increasing number of exporters will benefit from it in the future. Pointing out to the importance of women’s participation in labor, Şimşek said, “Women’s more active participation in the labor force will boost Turkey”. Şimşek said that the government’s support increased women’s participation and that they want to support women better.
Şimşek said that the capital and financial markets are going through a period that cannot be defined as even “shock”, and that there are certain uncertainties, due to which, the market is significantly volatile. Şimşek said that Turkey has faced numerous internal and external shocks in the last fifteen years but has overcome such, and some are not even remembered. Şimşek emphasized that Turkey is based on strong roots and continues to grow in spite of the global crisis and exports has increased. Şimşek added that the geopolitical stress in the region influences Turkey, but nevertheless they continue to march forward”.
Deputy Prime Minister Şimşek went on to say, “Turkey has a brilliant future ahead. Turkey will not lag behind in transparency or in terms of legal structure. Turkey will develop as she strengthens democratic standards, the principle of being a state of law, and the basic rights and freedoms. These are indispensible for development. With these, we have made Turkey to leap to the upper category. We have survived catastrophes, to which we reacted. In order to fight against these, we are going through a state of emergency period. However, Turkey will normalize rapidly, and get back to her path and back to civilization competition within the framework of the law of brotherhood. The future is with emerging countries. Turkey will focus on Asia and Africa but shall not neglect Europe and maintain her market share in the developed countries”.
Özlü: “We would like to institute entrepreneurial mentality”
Science, Industry and Technology Minister Faruk Özlü said that the rule of the game in the economy has changed, adding, “In addition to the entrepreneurial support that our Ministry offers, we would like to institute entrepreneurial mentality. We are striving to improve the R&D and innovation capabilities of entrepreneurs. In the era of technology, when everything is changing rapidly, innovation is the way to lead. Entrepreneurship is the cure to unemployment. Silicon Valley is full of success stories of Turkish entrepreneurs. In the last five years, the total amount of investments that Turkish entrepreneurs received is well beyond 30 million Dollars. The total company market capitalization stands around 1 billion Dollar. Therefore, we are capable of competing globally.”
Minister Özlü went on to say that they aim to improve Turkey’s digital technology based innovation ecosystem through the Information Technology Valley while Small and Medium Sized Enterprises Encouragement Agency (KOSGEB) and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) entrepreneurial support programs provide for all enterprises, both small and big.
Osman Bak: “We are Turkey: growing and developing”
Sports and Youth Minister Osman Bak said, "I would like to start by the question: Is entrepreneurship equal to youth?” Our Ministry has opened innovation workshops and media academies in youth centers. Currently, we have a total of 279 youth centers. Turkey has a young population. We are striving to be in close contact with the youth. We have launched coding trainings at our science and technology clubs. The 2023 project envisages coding to be a new language. We want young people to maintain their zeal and follow new businesses and enterprises rather than preparing for the exam for recruiting public servants. For entrepreneurship, I recommend young people to never procrastinate. Do not be lazy and never give up. Do not wait for opportunities to come to you; tell about yourself and do some marketing. Start every day with excitement. We are Turkey: growing and developing. We will be better off when all sectors unite together”.
The Summit continued with thematic speeches
During the Summit, IBM Watson Financial Services, FinTech Thought Leader Paolo Sironi delivered a speech on FinTech Revolution in the 21st century. Southeast Europe Research Center Principal Prof. Panoyiotis Ketikidis spoke on entrepreneurs’ access to finance. The Summit consisted of two main parts. Morning sessions included panels entitled “How to facilitate entrepreneurs’ access to finance”, “At which point of entrepreneurship should public subsidies be introduced?”, “The importance of financial technologies (FinTech) for entrepreneurial ecosystem” and “Turkey: The meeting point for the Middle East, Mediterranean, Balkans and European entrepreneurs”.
Awards granted in 9 categories
In the closing session, Turkey Entrepreneurial Rewards were granted. Entrepreneurs contributing to Turkey’s employment were rewarded and were presented to the public as role models. Borsa İstanbul FinTech Reward went to Compay; White Economy Reward to Fineksus; Internet of Things (IoT) Reward to Buy Buddy; Taş Yapı Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award to A&S Transport; Halk Bank E–Export Reward to Propolis, Mobile Security Reward to Smart Mimic; Robotics Reward to Micro P; Gaming Reward to WalkOVR; and Virtual Reality Reward to Pandora Reality.