UNDP Brings Young Entrepreneurs Together in Adana

UNDP Brings Young Entrepreneurs Together in Adana


“Start-up Weekend for All” was held in Adana on 13-15 December 2019, under the European Union (EU) funded project, which is jointly implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Ministry of Industry and Technology. Bringing together national and local stakeholders of the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem, the event featured 68 innovative business ideas by young entrepreneurs. With more than 300 entrepreneurs participating in the event, 28 teams of Turkish and Syrian citizens of various ages competed, and presented their ideas to the jury.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) organized an event that brought together innovation ecosystem stakeholders under the Job Creation Component of “Turkey Resilience Project in Response to the Syria Crisis (TRP)” implemented jointly with the Ministry of Industry and Technology with funding from the European Union (EU). Held in Adana in cooperation with Adana Entrepreneurship Centre, Cukurova Technopark, and Cukurova University Technology Transfer Office, “Start-up Weekend for All” drew more than 300 young entrepreneurs of various ages from such cities as Adana, Mersin, Konya. On a 54-hour event in the company of 18 specialized mentors, participants presented their new business venture ideas in various fields.

Through the event of 13-15 December sloganizing “Think free, be creative, develop your idea”, Turkish and Syrian youth who wished to be entrepreneurs learned how to transform creative business ideas to products and services with assistance from specialized mentors. Angel investors, seed capital experts, private sector representatives met with the participants to discuss digitalization, innovation, new economy, technology entrepreneurship, creative industries, and sustainable development.

Entrepreneurship ecosystem met in Adana

Comprehensive trainings were provided to participants at the event that brought together Turkish and Syrians to support entrepreneurship, foster local economic development, and build a sustainable future for all. Held at Cukurova Technopark, the event brought together all stakeholder categories of the entrepreneurship ecosystem ranging from young entrepreneurs to angel investors, from venture capital experts to representatives of the private sector and academia.

Ideathon of 54 hours

The 54-hour marathon started with participants deciding on business ideas and forming their teams, and eventually field 68 new business ideas in such areas as e-commerce, health technologies, wearable technologies, smart transport systems, technology-based agriculture and tourism applications, robotics, digital marketing, climate adaptation, women’s empowerment, green economy, logistics, communications technologies. Ms. Serap Urunga, Adana Entrepreneurship Centre Director, met with entrepreneurs and delivered “Business Model Training” whereas Mr. Patrick Bosteels, Founding Partner of Mentor and Stage Co and a Google Startup Weekend Certified Training provided training on mentoring, pitching, and process management to participants, mentors, and jury members.

Inspiring success stories

The inspiring talks panel had two sessions, where in the first Mr. Ihsan Muderrisoglu, IBM Deputy General Manager; Ms. Gunce Onur, Director of Partnership and Mentor Relations of StartersHub; Mr. Murat Ulman, Board Chairman of Bosphorus University Business Association, shared their experience on technology, entrepreneurship, and innovation. The second session featured Mr. Mustafa Kemal Akgul, Head of Productivity Applications Division at the Ministry of Science and Technology; Ms. Duygu Eren, Keiretsu Forum Turkey General Manager, shared their own entrepreneurship experience.

28 teams competed, best ideas awarded

28 teams who completed their projects through the 54-hour marathon presented their business ideas to the jury. Composed of Mr. Mustafa Kemal Akgul, Head of Department of Productivity Applications at the Ministry of Science and Technology; Mr. Mustafa Can Geckiner, Turkcell Beehive; Ms. Duygu Eren, Keiretsu Forum Turkey General Manager; Mr. Bora Kocaman, Secretary-General of Adana Chamber of Industry; Prof. Dr. Selcuk Colak, Adana Entrepreneurship Centre Coordinator; and Ms. Ozlem Cavusoglu, UNDP Livelihoods Sector Lead, the jury made a comprehensive evaluation, then announced the winning teams and projects. The top three teams were awarded computers and tablets as well as crowdfunding opportunities, mentorship, and networking support from Turkcell Beehive. The latter support would be provided to the winning ideas including TDVR which developed virtual applications for children with autism, DIA-BET which developed a domestic insulin pump for diabetic individuals, and 3S7K which developed smart and eco-friendly bathing systems. The jury awarded tablets and laptops to the teams of Augmented Team, Aki-Tech, Data’s, Cashier, Seventh Continent, and Halfman-Half Robot.

All teams participating in the contest were invited to the Bootcamp to be organized by Adana Entrepreneurship Centre. The finalist 28 teams will have the opportunity to benefit from investment incentives and support from KOSGEB Adana Provincial Directorate based on one-on-one meetings.

Turkey Resilience Project in Response to the Syria Crisis (TRP)

The European Union (EU) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) collaborate in contributing to the economic and social resilience of Syrians and host communities in Turkey and strengthening national and local institutions. The two-year project with €50m budget focuses on promoting job creation, strengthening local administration capacities and municipal services, and delivering Turkish language training for adult Syrians in 11 provinces of Turkey.

Through a resilience-based, local and sustainable development perspective, the Project proposes long-term, comprehensive structural solutions to the problems arising due to the Syria crisis. Centered on economic integration, social cohesion, local capacity enhancement, and regional development, Turkey Resilience Project in Response to the Syria Crisis (TRP) combines UNDP’s 50 years of expertise in sustainable development and EU’s financial support.

Turkey Resilience Project in Response to the Syria Crisis (TRP) - Job Creation Component

The “Job Creation” Component of the Project will be executed jointly with the Ministry of Industry and Technology in cooperation with local institutions, chambers of industries, business organizations in Izmir, Adana, Hatay, Mersin, Kilis, and Gaziantep, and help alleviate the pressures due to Syria crisis on local economies and labor markets.

The primary objective of the Job Creation Component is to increase the participation of Syrians and host community members in the economy; strengthen local economies through the provision of training and consulting services to Syrian and Turkish companies and enterprises on entrepreneurship, innovation, production techniques, marketing, business development, and business administration, etc; create new jobs and livelihoods for all, and support economic integration and regional development.

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