Group awards entrepreneur women for making a change
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Nurcan Özdemir (C), Yasemin Kalya (L) and Gülay Özgün, winners of local entrepreneurship competition, pose with their awards for at a ceremony in Istanbul. AA photoNurcan Özdemir’s achievement is a classic story of a person who becomes successful after starting from scratch. When she had to drop out of high school to start to working for a living in a factory, she never imagined that one day she would be the owner of not one but several industrial plants. But not all classic success stories are honored. That of Özdemir was recognized when she won a prize in Turkey’s Women Entrepreneur Competition, organized by Garanti Bank, a prominent private Turkish bank.
Özdemir, who won the Turkey’s Woman Entrepreneur award, was born in the eastern city of Ardahan. She and her family settled in the western city Bursa in 1989. After having worked in several positions, she established her own insulation company in 1998. In 2009 she formed her own factory for production with the name EPSA. Her second investment was in the chemical sector. At yesterday’s award ceremony Özdemir said she owed her success to the support of her family.
‘A stone mine and a woman’
In contrast to Özdemir, Yasemin Kalya decided to invest in her hometown. Although Kalya was born in the southeastern province of Mardin, she later settled in the Aegean city of İzmir. She was inspired to revive the production of local stone in Mardin when a local municipality wanted to replicate a Mardin clock tower. She went back to her hometown to revive a sector that had been dead for nearly 150 years. Starting with only three employees, she revived the stone mines and today she has 20 employees. Two museum buildings, the building of the governorship and a five star hotel in Mardin are made of stones produced by her company.
“A mountain, stone mine and a woman. Nothing fit in the picture,” said Kalya, who won the Turkey’s Woman Entrepreneur Who Has Created a Difference in Her Region award.
The award in the third category, Turkey’s Promising Woman Entrepreneur, went to Gülay Özgön. A medical school graduate, Özgön merged entrepreneurship with innovation. While she was always intrigued by genetics, this field was nearly nonexistent in Turkey when she was studying medicine. She is now the owner of a genetic diagnosis company performing services in fields like pre-birth, post-birth cancer and healthy life. Research and development is an important part of her company, which aims to reduce foreign dependence in the field of genetics. “Tomorrow is today,” was the motto used by Özgön to explain her business motivation. Like others she also said her biggest supporter was her family.
Turkey’s Woman Entrepreneur competition is in its sixth year and is organized with the cooperation of the Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey (KAGİDER) and the weekly Ekonomist, which is part of the Doğan publication group.