I couldn’t have been successful if I had stayed in Turkey: Chobani owner
Can Mumay ISTANBUL
Chobani Inc. founder Hamdi Ulukaya poses for a portrait at his company's headquarters in New York. REUTERS PhotoThe owner of the U.S.-based yoghurt maker Chobani, Hamdi Ulukaya, has said he could not have been commercially successful if he had stayed in Turkey, as capital is in the hands of a small number of people.
“After I moved from Turkey to the U.S., I bought a small factory and I was able to create the Chobani brand, although I didn’t have much money. It didn’t matter who I knew there. I had a good brand and product, and that was enough. But in Turkey the money is, unfortunately, held by just a few people, and relations matter too much,” the Turkey-born entrepreneur Ulukaya said.
He added that “ideas matter in the U.S.,” which allowed him to be successful in the country by believing in his idea and his brand.
Ulukaya also suggested that brands need to be sensitive to what is happening around the world, beginning in their own neighborhood.
“In this vein, our help to Kobane was one of the best things ever in my life. We helped Kobane through the United Nations and the ILS Foundation. We gave humanitarian aid to over 52,000 people. We now meet all the needs of two refugee camps there,” he said, adding that he had donated $2 million to the Kurdish town besieged by jihadists on Syria’s border with Turkey.
The Chobani founder also said Turkey should maintain its links to the West and not forget that it is “important for the U.S. and the West.”
Ulukaya skyrocketed to the top of the business world in the U.S. after arriving in the 1990s, and founded Chobani in 2007.