Woman entrepreneur making a change locally
A couple of years ago when the popular discourse “Anatolian Lions” was mentioned, one of the first names that came to mind would have been the Boydak family of Kayseri.
This family owns the well-known furniture brands such as İstikbal, Bellona and Mondi; they are also operating in the energy and banking sectors. They have 41 companies operating in eight sectors. The Boydaks provide jobs for 14,000 people and their turnover was 6.5 billion Turkish Liras last year. This family has been the tax paying champion of Kayseri for years.
It was only recently that the CEO of Boydak Holding, Memduh Boydak was given a prize by President Erdoğan for being a champion exporter.
Now, Memduh Boydak and his brother, Hacı Boydak, are in prison on charges of being associated with the “Fetullahist Terror Organization” (FETÖ).
I was planning to write about this incident, which was one of the most striking developments of the weekend. However, because March 8 is International Women Day, I changed my mind to write about the success story of a woman from Mardin, a southeast province.
The story of Ebru Baybara Demir is the story of a female entrepreneur who has made miracles by pursuing a small light even in the most hopeless of situations. I met Demir years ago when Mardin had not yet discovered tourism.
After being a tourist guide in Istanbul, she had decided to settle in Mardin, her birthplace.
Pondering what could be done in the city and considering the fact that there was not a proper restaurant for visitors, she organized women who knew how to cook ancient dishes and founded the famous Cercis Murat Konağı in a short time. This place became a trade mark for all visitors of Mardin to dine at.
She is the person who has led Mardin’s leap into the tourism field. Now in Mardin, quality hotels and restaurants are abundant.
Unfortunately, the rising tourism star of the region has suffered a heavy blow because of the clashes in the region and the Syrian crisis, just like Antalya and Antakya.
New five-star hotels and most of its restaurants had to close.
Instead of laying off her employees of 16 years, Demir developed a project called “Hayatım Yenibahar” in order to keep them working.
They have re-interpreted Mardin’s traditional handicrafts and they are producing several products with semi-precious stones. They sell their products on the Internet. The producers are the same women who cooked for the restaurant.
Demir who has always opened a door of hope for her own family and employees with her creativity won a prize at the Women Entrepreneurs competition organized jointly by Garanti Bank and Kagider in the category of “Women entrepreneur who made a change in her region.”
The Hayatım Yenibahar team will soon cook Mardin dishes at Istanbul’s Eataly to raise funds for young girls who attend universities around Mardin.
Demir does make change in Mardin.