Startup Turkey

Startup Turkey



With undergoing economy around the Globe and possible multi-dip economic recessions at the door, various countries taking initiatives and trying to find out a new way to boost up their job market and economy. The most important aspect of this research is to find out a new proposal for rescuing the economy as government funded cash injections couldn’t create a stabilized environment as people understood these kind of stimulus packages as “temporary” as they actually were.

Now, we see a trending topic for these “way-out” programs: Start-ups. Researches indicate that, of course conducted in the United States where people take statistics more seriously compared to anywhere in the world, instead of funding rescue packages to large corporations, it creates a lot of new jobs to fund young-driven start-ups. I think the reason for that is pretty simple and in the very foundation of very famous quote “… be a pirate than to join the navy…” Large corporations, being the navy here, tend to be more conservative and really hard to change the way they work. When they talk about a economic savings package in the corporations, almost all the time they mean they are going to start firing people. However, pirates, being the start-ups here, most of the time have nothing to lose and they contain the youth’s power to adapt to changes and fight for their ideas.

Now, I would like to focus on Turkey and try to compare it with the United States as they recently started a program for entrepreneurs called “Startup America Partnership”. This programs has a really respectable and powerful board of directors with really close ties to the government, in fact President of the USA repeatedly said that he saw tech startups as great potential job creators. On the other hand, Turkey is just struggling his way out with the entrepreneurs. Several government agencies have funding programs for possible product ideas but they mainly the lack the very culture of entrepreneurship, mentors. At this point of time, government just provides the funds and almost in all of the cases, funded programs fail due to the fact that they actually have no or very little idea of what to do and how to spend that funding.

However, now we are seeing a little movement from the private companies with their own small-scale investment spinoffs where they backup the incubators and try to provide funds to a very limited group of startups. I see a one big problem here: in most of the cases those investment firms actually invest in their parent companies other spinoffs which I think that is just a weird strategy as it is in self a vicious cycle. It is understandable and natural for an investment company to try to minimize its risks when it is investing but I think it is completely useless and against the nature of startups as they limit this funding to a really small circle and in most of the cases exclude the real entrepreneurs of our day, college students or newly grads.

Another barrier for startups in Turkey is that societies “idea” on small sized companies and the current “love affair” with foreign brands. Based on my experience, people tend to not trust in young startups as think of them as the youths’ “summer love”. Also, compared to the United States, which is pretty ironic in my opinion, in Turkey people show really little support or no support at all to the local businesses. One would expect the other way as the USA is the “flagship” of globalization. Thus, small startups have fierce competitions with large corporations  and even when they come up with a better product, public tends to go and buy the product from their “corporate” provider. I think that in order for us to see some real movement with startups in Turkey, the public need to change its approach to those startups or else we will be only hearing successful startups in Silicon Valley.

To summarize, even though I painted a dark picture for startups in Turkey, I still have some hope for this business model to survive and flourish in next 10 years or so where the country can finally accumulate the much needed mentors and a positive public opinion on startups with the help of new organaztions providing help to the new enterprenurs such as “e-tohum”, “” , “Galata Business Angels” and many others.

What do you think? Lets drop few lines of comments and get a debate going!

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