Ozyegin University and Turkcell Prepare Entrepreneurs Through Startup Factory
Founded with the strategic partnership of Özyeğin University (OzU) and Turkcell to accelerate commercialization of ideas and technologies and to promote entrepreneurship, the Startup Factory opened its doors to entrepreneurs on May 4, 2011, Wednesday. Inaugurated by Hüsnü Özyeğin, Özyeğin University Board of Trustees Chair, Süreyya Ciliv, Turkcell CEO, and İhsan Elgin, Özyeğin University Center for Entrepreneurship Director, the Startup Factory will accommodate around 8 to 16 new businesses a year within an office space of 300 square meter.
6 Projects Given Green Light
The first executive committee meeting of the Startup Factory was held on 29 March 2011. The Factory received around 90 applications so far, 6 of which were accepted. Currently the projects admitted to the Startup Factory are eBrandValue, Antropi, Neoses, KogniGo, MystIC and SiS, which was one of the Turkcell Teknofikir Competition finalists.
A Full Complement of Services from Office Space to Networking with Investors
Founded as an “accelerator”, the Startup Factory differentiates itself from other incubators by developing target-oriented strategies through the practical and theoretical coaching/mentorship of OzU faculty and experienced serial entrepreneurs, by introducing entrepreneurs to all angel investor networks in Turkey and by providing support for professional services. Entrepreneurs are expected to “graduate” within 12 months by receiving investment capital. Successful mobile business entrepreneurs will also have the opportunity to participate in the Turkcell Partner Program, the biggest business partnership ecosystem in Turkey.
In countries like Turkey where entrepreneurship is developing fast, entrepreneurs who do not have any access to mentorship or professional services are left alone during their start-up efforts. Providing a full complement of services extending from basic support such as office space, telephone, internet and administrative secretary to advanced support such as legal counseling, accounting, human resources, media communication and even access to OzU MBA courses, coaching and investors, the Start-Up Factory will fill an important gap in the Turkish entrepreneurship ecosystem.
The Start-Up Factory will be in close liaison with all key stakeholders of the entrepreneurship ecosystem from public institutions such as TUBITAK and KOSGEB to NGOs such as Endeavor, Etohum and TOBB Young Entrepreneurs Board, as well as investor networks such as Galata Business Angels, LabX, 212 VC, Young Turk Ventures, Inventram and Inovent.
Özyeğin University Rector Prof. Erhan Erkut said that it is the universities that have the biggest responsibility to strengthen the Turkish entrepreneurship ecosystem: “As it is the case all around the world, also in Turkey, universities must take the lead in building an innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem by bringing creative people together. I believe that the Ozyegin University-Turkcell partnership and the Start-Up Factory will offer a new vision and serve as a role-model.”
Özyeğin: “Big Entrepreneurship Ideas Born Out of University Collaborations”
Delivering the opening address at the Start-Up Factory inauguration, Ozyegin University Board of Trustees Chair Hüsnü Özyeğin pointed out the fact that high-impact technologies are almost always the outputs of collaborations with universities and they are born out of research projects conducted or ideas supported by faculty members, or graduate and post graduate students: “We see that off-campus projects turn into more successful products or services when combined with academic knowhow and facilities. Therefore, we established the Start-Up Factory in collaboration with Turkcell to promote “successful initiatives and entrepreneurs”, which we believe are the biggest need of Turkey. I have no doubt that the Start-Up Factory that we launched with great enthusiasm will give rise to globally successful businesses in time.”
Ciliv: We have the necessary infrastructure and the entrepreneurial spirit to prepare tomorrow’s Bill Gates in Turkey
During the inauguration, Turkcell CEO Süreyya Ciliv said in his opening address: “We have the best internet infrastructure. With 3G, we have not only opened the doors of a new world but also became the 5th in fiber internet. Being in Turkey is not a disadvantage anymore; on the contrary it is an advantage. We should not forget the fact that technology fuels entrepreneurship. A couple of days ago, they asked me whether Bill Gates could have been today’s Bill Gates if he had been born in Turkey in 1950s. My answer is definitely “No”. But I do not see any reason why tomorrow’s Bill Gates would not come out of Turkey. We seem to have caught the entrepreneurship wave. I see Ozyegin University and the Start-Up Factory founded by Hüsnü Özyeğin, one of the leading entrepreneurs of Turkey who have achieved the biggest success in the shortest period of time, as an opportunity for the future of Turkey.”
How and Where to Apply?
The Startup Factory accepts applications by entrepreneurs with a well-planned business idea and a partner to make up a team of two, irrelevant of any university or industry with the sole requirement of working full time on the project. Applicants need to submit an online application at www.girisimfabrikasi.com/basvuru . Following the online application, eligible candidates are invited to present their projects. If the project is deemed appropriate by the Startup Factory Director and other expert faculty members, the project owners are awarded with a business plan training and management coaching service.
Following the business plan training, entrepreneurs are expected to prepare a business plan within 15 days and submit it to the Startup Factory Executive Board by using vast resources of the university library and consulting to the relevant faculty members. Entrepreneurs who successfully pass this stage as well will be entitled to start working at the Startup Factory following a 2-day intensive training.