Entrepreneurship and Innovation Support in the Türkiye Startup Ecosystem: A Comprehensive Overview of Government Programs & Initiatives
Entrepreneurship has been a driving force in Türkiye’s economic growth over the past decade. The Turkish government has recognized the importance of entrepreneurship and has implemented various support programs to foster an entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country. These support programs range from grants and funding to training and mentorship opportunities and are offered by various government agencies and organizations such as KOSGEB, TÜBİTAK, ISTKA, and the Ministry of Industry and Technology.
In addition to these support programs, Türkiye has also established technology development zones and incubation centers to provide entrepreneurs with access to cutting-edge technology and resources. One such example is Bilişim Vadisi, Türkiye’s largest technology development zone located in Istanbul, which provides a wide range of services and facilities to support the growth of technology-based startups.
This article will provide an overview of the various support programs and resources available to entrepreneurs in Türkiye and highlight some of the success stories that have emerged from the country’s vibrant startup ecosystem.
1.KOSGEB Entrepreneurship Supports
The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Organization (KOSGEB) provides various grants, credits, and support to entrepreneurs and small business owners, such as incubation centers, mentoring programs, financial support, and more.
1.1 Startup Support Program: This program provides financial support of up to 100,000 Turkish Liras to entrepreneurs and startups in their early stages of development. The support can be used for various expenses, such as rent, salaries, equipment, and more.
1.2 SME Development Support Program: This program provides financial support of up to 500,000 Turkish Liras to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in their growth stages. The support can be used for various expenses, such as machinery, equipment, software, and more.
1.3 Entrepreneurial Business Development Support Program: This program provides financial support of up to 1,500,000 Turkish Liras to entrepreneurs and SMEs for their investment projects. The support can be used for various expenses, such as land, building, machinery, and more.
1.4 Technology-Oriented Industry Support Program: This program provides financial support of up to 5,000,000 Turkish Liras to SMEs and large enterprises in the technology sector. The support can be used for various expenses, such as R&D activities, product development, and more.
1.5 Product Development and Design Support Program: This program provides financial support of up to 200,000 Turkish Liras to entrepreneurs and SMEs for their product development and design projects. The support can be used for various expenses, such as design fees, material costs, and more.
2. TUBITAK Entrepreneurship Supports
The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Türkiye (TÜBİTAK) offers various grants and programs for entrepreneurs and startups in the fields of science, technology, and innovation.
2.1 TÜBİTAK BİGG (Entrepreneurship Support Program)
TÜBİTAK BİGG (The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Türkiye’s Big Idea Generation Program) is a project launched by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Türkiye (TÜBİTAK) to support entrepreneurs and innovative startups in Türkiye. The program aims to encourage the development of innovative business ideas and accelerate the commercialization of technological innovations in the country.
The TÜBİTAK BİGG project provides financial and non-financial support to entrepreneurs and startups, including:
Seed Funding: The program offers seed funding to startups in the form of grants. The grant amount can be up to 150,000 Turkish Liras (approximately 20,000 USD) for a single project.
Entrepreneurship Training: The program offers entrepreneurship training and mentoring to entrepreneurs and startups. The training covers topics such as business planning, marketing, financial management, and intellectual property rights.
Networking Opportunities: The program provides networking opportunities to entrepreneurs and startups, enabling them to connect with potential partners, investors, and customers.
Patent Support: The program offers patent support to startups, helping them protect their intellectual property rights.
Incubation Support: The program provides incubation support to startups, including office space, access to equipment and facilities, and mentoring.
2.2 TUBITAK TEYDEB 1507 ; Entrepreneurial and Innovative SMEs R&D Projects Support Program: This program provides financial support for R&D projects carried out by innovative SMEs. The support can cover up to 75% of the total project budget, and the maximum support amount is 750,000 Turkish Liras.
2.3 TUBITAK TEYDEB 1512 ; SME R&D Start-up Support Program: This program provides financial support for newly established SMEs that carry out R&D projects. The support can cover up to 75% of the total project budget, and the maximum support amount is 250,000 Turkish Liras.
2.4 TUBITAK 1513 ; Technology Transfer Offices Support Program: This program provides financial support for Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs) that facilitate technology transfer and commercialization activities between universities and industry. The support covers up to 75% of the total project budget, and the maximum support amount is 500,000 Turkish Liras.
2.5 TUBITAK 1514 ; Technological Product Design and Prototype Production Support Program: This program provides financial support for entrepreneurs and SMEs that develop and produce innovative products. The support can cover up to 75% of the total project budget, and the maximum support amount is 500,000 Turkish Liras.
2.6 TUBITAK Cyberpark Pre-Incubation Center ; TUBITAK Cyberpark provides a pre-incubation center for entrepreneurs and startups, which offers facilities and services such as office space, mentorship, networking, and access to funding opportunities.
3.ISTKA (Istanbul Development Agency)
ISTKA is a regional development agency in Türkiye, established to promote sustainable economic development in Istanbul. ISTKA offers various entrepreneurship and innovation supports, such as funding programs, mentorships, incubation centers, and more, to entrepreneurs and startups in Istanbul. The agency offers various grants and projects to support entrepreneurs in the region. Some of the main programs offered by ISTKA for entrepreneurs are:
3.1 Istanbul Entrepreneurship and Innovation Platform
This program aims to support the development of a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem in Istanbul. It offers funding for startups and entrepreneurs, as well as training, mentoring, and networking opportunities.
3.2 Istanbul Microcredit Program
This program provides microcredit loans to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Istanbul. It aims to increase access to finance for SMEs, particularly those that have difficulty obtaining traditional bank loans.
3.3 Istanbul Technology Transfer Office
This program focuses on commercializing innovative research and development (R&D) projects in Istanbul. It offers funding and support for startups and entrepreneurs who are developing innovative products and technologies.
3.4 Istanbul Employment Support Program
This program provides funding and support for SMEs that are creating new jobs in Istanbul. It aims to promote employment and economic growth in the region.
3.5 Istanbul Social Entrepreneurship Program
This program supports social entrepreneurs who are developing innovative solutions to social problems in Istanbul. It offers funding, training, and networking opportunities for social entrepreneurs.
4. Ministry of Industry and Technology Supports
The Ministry of Industry and Technology provides various programs, supports, and grants for entrepreneurs and startups, such as the Technology Development Zones program, the National Technology Move program, and more.
4.1 Entrepreneur Support Program (GIRISIM)
This program provides financial support to entrepreneurs who are starting a new business or expanding an existing one. It offers funding for various expenses such as equipment, materials, and salaries. The program also provides training and mentoring to help entrepreneurs develop their business skills.
4.2 Technology Development Foundation of Türkiye (TTGV)
The TTGV offers funding and support for technology startups and innovative projects. It also offers access to networks and mentorship to help entrepreneurs bring their projects to the market.
4.3 Technology-Oriented Industry Cooperation Program (SAN-TEZ)
This program aims to support the commercialization of innovative R&D projects. It offers funding for companies to develop and test prototypes, as well as support for marketing and patent registration.
4.4 Productivity and Technology Transfer Centers (VERIMLILIK)
These centers provide training and consulting services to SMEs to improve their productivity and competitiveness. They also offer support for technology transfer and collaboration with universities and research institutions.
4.5 Technology Development Zones (TDZs)
TDZs are physical areas where companies can locate to take advantage of tax incentives and other benefits. They offer access to shared facilities and services such as laboratories and meeting rooms. The TDZs also provide a supportive environment for startups and entrepreneurs.
4.5.1 Bilişim Vadisi ( Informatics Valley)
Bilişim Vadisi is a technology development zone located in Ankara, Türkiye, specializing in information technologies. It is similar to a technology development zone as it provides a supportive environment for companies to develop innovative technologies, including access to office and laboratory space, funding opportunities, and expertise from academic and research institutions. However, Bilişim Vadisi specifically focuses on the information technology sector and hosts a wide range of companies in this field, from startups to large multinationals. The zone is operated by the Ministry of Industry and Technology, with support from the Middle East Technical University and other institutions.
4.6 Milli Teknoloji Hamlesi ( National Technology Initiative)
Milli Teknoloji Hamlesi (National Technology Initiative) is a comprehensive program launched by the Turkish government in 2017 to promote the development and implementation of advanced technologies in key sectors of the economy. The initiative focuses on accelerating the pace of technological innovation in Türkiye and enhancing the country’s competitiveness in the global marketplace.
The program aims to strengthen the research and development capabilities of Turkish companies, increase the number of high-tech startups, and improve the technological infrastructure of the country. It also seeks to boost cooperation between academia and industry and increase the number of skilled professionals in the field of technology.
The Milli Teknoloji Hamlesi program covers a wide range of sectors, including defense, health, transportation, energy, and agriculture. It provides financial incentives such as grants, loans, and tax incentives to companies and startups engaged in high-tech R&D activities. It also establishes technology clusters and innovation centers to facilitate collaboration and knowledge sharing among researchers, entrepreneurs, and industry professionals.
Overall, the Milli Teknoloji Hamlesi program represents a strategic effort by the Turkish government to leverage technological innovation to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life for its citizens.
The Turkish government has made significant efforts to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in the country, offering a range of support programs and initiatives to help aspiring entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. While there are certainly challenges involved in starting a business, the availability of government support can make a significant difference, providing entrepreneurs with the resources and tools they need to succeed. As Türkiye continues to prioritize entrepreneurship and innovation, it is likely that we will see even more initiatives aimed at supporting these goals in the years to come.