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GİLA BENMAYOR > Profile of the new Turkish entrepreneur

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The head of the executive board at Fuga Denim, textile businessman Fuat Gözaçan, is only 40 years old and has a profile typical of the new Turkish entrepreneur. He is a visionary and is ready to open up to the world. 

He was born in Germany, and lived in that country until he was 14. Later, he settled in the Aegean city of İzmir together with his family. He did not finish his education in tourism, but dropped out and started his business life at a very early age. 

I visited Gözaçan in his office in Düsseldorf, Germany, the city he returned to after 15 years. My first question for him was “Why Düsseldorf?” Although actually it is apparent what attracted the CEO of Fuga to Düsseldorf. Almost 5,000 foreign companies -- 500 of which are Japanese -- have chosen Düsseldorf as a business location, due to its human resources and the availability of logistics facilities for Europe and various destinations in the world. 

Gözaçan said Düsseldorf offers the perfect circumstances for design and brand management, and for this reason his blue-jeans, the production of which is based in İzmir, are designed here. Even while I was visiting his office, young German and Turkish designers were working there as a team. 
Gözaçan’s success story began when he formed the Fuga Company in İzmir 15 years ago. When his company’s turnover was 850,000 euros in 2006, he joined the Turquality program, aimed at strengthening Turkish brands. After studying the road map Turquality had drawn up for brand promotion, he determined his own strategy and vision. 

The Fuga Company has grown 70 percent in six years and has reached a turnover of 20 million euros. The goal is to reach 300 million euros in a couple of years. Fuga products, which are now sold at 1,200 sales points in Turkey and Europe, will become available in the United States, China, India and Brazil next year. Gözaçan is planning to open a third business center in Hong Kong, in addition to those in İzmir and Düsseldorf.

“We’re moving fast to become a world brand,” he said. By the year 2017, Fuga will have opened 300 stores. At this stage he, Gözaçan is working with the most important consulting firms in the world. He allocates an important share of the budget for R&D. 

As a result of this R&D work, Fuga has developed a robotic arm to use in the manufacturing process and prevent silicosis, known as the “denim stoning disease.” Gözaçan has allocated 3.5 million euros to implement this robotic arm, named for the famous painter Picasso, in his production facilities. His biggest dream is to visit countries such as China, India and Pakistan together with the World Health Organization (WHO), and save the lives of thousands of denim stoning workers. “If we can save the lives of 10,000 workers, then we have made a huge achievement,” he said. 

Gözaçan is also pursuing a new model in human resources. He is developing a “samurai” model based on the Japanese principles of commitment to one’s work and loyalty to one’s boss. He will be patenting his samurai model in the coming months. It won’t be too surprising if he goes about promoting his samurai model throughout the world, just like the robotic arm.

May/09/2012

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