5th Turkey Innovation Week starts in Istanbul

5th Turkey Innovation Week starts in Istanbul

5th Turkey Innovation Week starts in Istanbul The 5th Turkey Innovation Week, during which dozens of innovation gurus from 10 different countries in various disciplines will meet, started on Dec. 8 in Istanbul. 

The three-day event is organized by the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TİM) in a bid to support innovative ideas and works to strengthen sustainable development under the coordination of the Economy Ministry.

Prominent professionals, industrialists, academics and students from various backgrounds come together during the event, which is sponsored by Arçelik, TEB, Turkish Airlines, Sabancı Holding, Çalık Holding and Turkcell. 

Participants of the event will be able to visit dozens of innovation, R&D project and entrepreneurship exhibitions in the venue. 

The opening ceremony at the Istanbul Congress Center was hosted by TİM President Mehmet Büyükekşi, and was attended by Science, Industry and Technology Minister Faruk Özlü, Istanbul Governor Vasip Şahin, and many leading businesspeople.

Özlü underlined the importance of innovation in writing Turkey’s new economy narrative in his opening remarks. 

“A production and export-based growth model does not describe properly what Turkey needs. A model that is based on research and development [R&D] and innovation is much more appropriate to define what we need. We have often spoken about Turkey’s foreign trade deficit and current account gap. These are an obvious result of Turkey’s technology gap, which is the main problem of Turkey. If we close this gap, other gaps will automatically be closed,” he said. 

In a speech addressing more than 2,000 students from 140 universities, Büyükekşi said Turkey can reach its 2023 targets and become a technology-producing country under the leadership of young people. 

“In developed countries, innovation is now made through software. Some 15 percent of the works in the United States are expected to be undertaken by robotic solutions or software with artificial intelligence by 2025. The world is set to see an economy with a steep unemployment problem. What is needed to be achieved is to lead in design, R&D, brand development and innovation,” he added. 

‘Never give up’

Büyükekşi said there are many leading examples which show the importance of innovation, such as the launch of Alibaba.com. 

“The founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba, Jack Ma, was rejected from many companies to which he had made job applications. He was also rejected by Harvard University. He, however, learned something new every time, and realized how internet was of great importance. He is now the second wealthiest person in China and 33rd in the world with his $27.3 billion in wealth. Another innovation to which I want to mention here is the headphones which do simultaneous translation instantly thanks to groundbreaking software. We will see them on the shelves in the near future,” he said, describing the main ingredient of innovation as the motto “never give up.” 

Büyükekşi also thanked to all exporters for their great contribution in realizing this event for fostering an innovation culture in Turkey. 

French Jet Ski champion Franky Zapata, a revolutionary jet ski world champion who drives the flyboard model to the market with theme ‘a Zapata Race Story,’ also gave a speech at the opening. 

“I created the Flyboard by dreaming on how to fly. I had first presumed that there would be sales in small scales, but just one day after I had put a video by using it on Youtube, I took orders from 2,000 people. The Flyboard industry was thus born and spread across the globe in just five years,” Zapata said. 

“I just followed my dream and never changed my road. Don’t be afraid and never give up … If you work hard, you will achieve your goal some day,” he added. 

In this year in the event there would be conferences, panels, exhibitions and workshops in the titles of Economic Development, Growth Focused Innovation, Smart Cities, Artificial Intelligence, Biomechanics, Wearable Technology, Digital Gaming, Sports, Women Entrepreneurs, Social Innovation and Cinema. In order to encourage innovation in the event, the 3rd InovaLIG Award Ceremony will be held this year.