Participation Banks Support Entrepreneurs
The interest of the participation banking sector in the entrepreneurship ecosystem has been increasing in recent years
Teknopark Istanbul General Manager Bilal Topçu talked about the current situation of TÜRKİYE's entrepreneurship ecosystem, its future perspectives and the activities of the participation finance sector regarding start-ups for our magazine.
HOW DO YOU SEE TÜRKİYE'S ENTREPRENEURSHIP ECOSYSTEM? WHAT ARE YOUR PREDICTIONS FOR THE FUTURE?
It is always emphasised that there are ideal environments in the entrepreneurship ecosystem in crisis settings to start new businesses and make a difference with different business models. Entrepreneurs in our country are trying to make a difference in their own lane with new entrepreneurship models, both in global crises and in situations where the world economy is going through its usual course. At the peak of the pandemic in 2021, despite all the adverse conditions, the total amount of start-up initiatives in our country approached 1.5 billion dollars. The rapid growth of this ecosystem and the increasing interest in this area is very promising. New concepts such as NFT and Metaverse have emerged globally, and we are currently under the influence of a huge technological transformation. We can see this mainly from the appreciation of technology stocks on the Nasdaq and the start-up investments of large companies. At the end of 2022, the winners will be those who adapt technology to their work and their own lives and invest in these startups in the same way from an investment perspective.
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE METHODS OF SUPPORTING START-UP PROJECTS OF TEKNOPARK ISTANBUL?
With Cube Incubation, which has a significant place on our campus, we ensure the realisation of start-up projects in the largest entrepreneurship centre in TÜRKİYE and the region. Among these projects, besides the defence industry, there are also critical areas such as agriculture, textile, education, biotechnology, cyber security and artificial intelligence. Our incubation centre has provided and continues to offer many physical and social incubation services for entrepreneurs working in deep technology, from clean rooms to assembly workshops, from laboratory areas to modern office infrastructures. So far, we have provided incubation services to more than 450 entrepreneurs. In addition to our side that kaprovides the most comprehensive incubation support in TÜRKİYE, we carry out acceleration programs according to the stages and verticals of our entrepreneurs, which are success-oriented, based on modern and scientific methods that bring added value quickly and help them develop. More than 850 entrepreneurs have benefited from our acceleration programs so far. We are planning to open our newly built places in the field of biotechnology in 2022 this year. We will host approximately 10 thousand R&D engineers when our third phase structures are completed. With the new stages, we accelerated our efforts to establish an assembly workshop in line with the intense demand of our entrepreneurs and companies. In fact, we are currently receiving applications from the USA and Canada. Because cleanrooms are not easy for academics and entrepreneurs to reach. We will provide this opportunity to start-ups. In addition, as Teknopark Istanbul, we will establish the 'venture capital investment fund' and have the chance to support our deep technology initiatives directly. We want to invest in start-ups, especially in deep technology, with a start-up fund of 105 million TL.
WE SEE THAT INVESTMENTS IN THE DEFENCE INDUSTRY AND DIGITALISATION COME TO THE FORE IN TÜRKİYE. WHAT CAN YOU SAY ABOUT ENTREPRENEURIAL ACTIVITIES, ESPECIALLY IN THE DEFENCE INDUSTRY?
Significant breakthroughs have been made in the field of the defence industry in TÜRKİYE in recent years. Notable successes have been achieved both by the private sector and public support. We can say that the products that emerged with the breakthroughs made especially attract the public's attention and are among the topics that are followed. There is a sector in TÜRKİYE that is getting stronger and wants to reveal its potential with the development of technology and the support of the factors involved in this production. The importance of technology development is not only for producing the needs in the field of the defence industry but also in areas such as economy, national science and technology infrastructure. Many different platforms can now be produced with national and domestic facilities. Many of these products are projects that have been implemented based on the ideas put forward by entrepreneurs. At this point, these entrepreneurs need to be supported to produce more domestic projects and contribute to the national economy. At Technopark Istanbul, we are doing our part at this point. Under the leadership of the Presidency of Defense Industries, we have implemented the Strategic Solution Partnership cooperation protocol with ASELSAN, TUSAŞ, ROKETSAN, HAVELSAN, TEI and BMC for entrepreneurship activities. Within the scope of this protocol, we will support processes such as determining the entrepreneurial characteristics that the Strategic Solution Partner may need, evaluating the applicant startups and matching them with the Strategic Solution Partner, making use of infrastructure facilities, providing office support, providing mentoring services, and selling and marketing their products and services. We will organise joint call-based entrepreneurship programs within the framework of performance measurement and monitoring during the program by making thematic calls in technologies and sectors of strategic importance for the Strategic Solution Partner.
CAN YOU EVALUATE THE POTENTIAL OF THE PARTICIPATION BANKING SECTOR IN FINANCING THE ENTREPRENEURSHIP ECOSYSTEM? WHAT KIND OF COOPERATION AREAS EXIST BETWEEN TECHNOPARK ISTANBUL AND PARTICIPATION BANKS?
Today, it seems that entrepreneurship is one of the most critical factors that will enable the economy to continue its development. In this context, the interest of the participation banking sector in the entrepreneurship ecosystem has increased in recent years. Participation banks support the entrepreneurship ecosystem in different areas, from mentoring to acceleration programs, with the units they have created in-house. On our campus, we host AlbarakaTech Global and Architecht companies, which besides Albaraka Türk and Kuveyt Türk, provide the technological infrastructure of many banks and financial institutions in TÜRKİYE and abroad. With these companies, we create cooperation areas for our entrepreneurs. Most recently, we signed a cooperation protocol with Architecht for the product named PowerFactor. Within the scope of the signed protocol, the use of the PowerFactor product will be provided without charge by our Cube Incubation initiatives. In addition, with our Eat With Startups events, we brought AlbarakaTech Global and Architecht companies together with our entrepreneurs for cooperation talks.
General Manager of Technopark Istanbul