We celebrated Global Entrepreneurship Week in style and sisterhood! We collaborated with Endeavor Turkey, GYIAD, Arya Women’s Investment Platform, KAGIDER, Impact Hub Istanbul, and BinYaprak to celebrate women entrepreneurs and joining networks!
Our event, “Entrepreneurship: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” brought together four women entrepreneurs for an open discussion. Our first speaker was Rina Onur Şirinoğlu, founding partner of 500 Istanbul, who shared her story of how she funded her first start-up. A key takeaway: There is no limit to risks when starting a company, especially when one of your founders backs out. But Rina persevered:“My motivation is to build a product that influences others.” she says, encouraging us to find and follow our passion.
Next we heard from Deren Ozturk Mataracı, general manager of COSMED. She started her dermocosmetology company in Paris when she was 16. Her first angel investor was her father, a blessing and a challenge to mix family with business. 7 years into the venture, Deren felt she was not making any progress until she saw a life-changing video. The video showed a time-lapse of growing sequoia trees, which took 7 years to reach their adult state. This video, and the fact that Deren’s company was also at 7 years of age, showed that with patience, she could accomplish her goals. She decided to make a bold move and bring the company to Turkey.
Our third speaker was Nesrin Karaoğlu Otuzoğlu, chairman of Karaoğlu Payzaj & Adaplant. She started her story with this message: “At the end of each day I think about what more could be done, how we can innovate our systems, and many ideas just spread in my head.” As a leader in her organization, Nesrin is constantly working to maintain standards while also pushing for something greater. She sees women as an advantage in the workplace, where feminine perspective benefits ways of thinking.
Our moderator for the event, Aslı Kurul Turkmen, Search and Services Director of Endeavor Turkey, threw us a curveball at the end of the night. She told us: ‘We should change the terminology. We should completely quit the emphasis on ‘women’ in entrepreneurship.’ She shared that women are capable of many things but entrepreneurship is still gender biased. If we can change the way men and women are perceived in entrepreneurship, it will support gender equality on all fronts.
Thank you to Impact Hub Istanbul for hosting us at their venue, and to all of our partners for their support in organizing our four wonderful speakers.