Why Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, why?
Being an entrepreneur is difficult. You don’t have a steady income for a long time when you start up a company. Your opportunity cost is also very high if you quit your existing job to be an entrepreneur. You will have to work almost 24/7 to either establish a new market if your product is very innovative, or you spend the same amount of time and energy to get ahead of your competition. In the end, you give most of your company’s income to your workers in form of salaries and to the government in form of taxes. And after long years of tears and sweat, you might be lucky enough to earn millions upon millions, thus paying even more taxes and salaries.
That’s why in developed countries and in countries that are trying to become developed, entrepreneurs are cherished. Everybody in the ecosystem knows how hard an entrepreneur’s life is and they do whatever they can to help these individuals.
However in Turkey, we do the opposite. Almost all institutions are trying to harm entrepreneurs, or they are trying to make entrepreneurs’ lives as difficult as possible.
Banks would not give out loans if these individuals do not show their houses or cars as pledges. The Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) and other institutions are also inclined to make contributions to big companies, while they should actually be giving support to ones in need the most.
Lastly in Turkey, the state-run organizations, municipalities, big banks and the biggest holdings like to compete with start-ups to kill them before they can even take off.
I have heard so many stories from so many different entrepreneurs about how they pitched their fintech ideas to big banks and get rejected only to see that their very own idea is marketed under the brand of the bank that they pitched it to. Banks in Turkey choose to do it themselves instead of working with a start-up.
Lately, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has been behaving in ways that it should not. They are investing in various verticals as if they are an investment fund. However, I don’t recall paying my taxes to the municipality so that it operates as an investment fund; I pay my taxes to them to do municipality work, to have street cleaners, to have more green pastures, to have better playing grounds, to have more free sports and education centers, etc. Instead, they invest in football and try to beat Istanbul clubs, produce bread and compete with local stores, open up restaurants, invest in sea taxis so that there are no investors establishing a company in that area; and lately, they have invested in a taxi e-hailing application called iTaksi.
I just cannot believe this because we already had a locally-funded start-up called Bitaksi, which does exactly the same thing. Why would a municipality bring competition to a privately owned start-up with the fund raised by our taxes? I do not pay tax to be a competitor to anyone. If the metropolitan municipality thinks that it collects way more taxes than it needs, it either should give them back or donate it to a charity. I don’t know how we can stop this behavior of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality; it can choose any industry and completely destroy competition there. This just doesn’t make any sense.