Turkey’s young social entrepreneurs awarded
Winners of the Fifth Bilgi Young Social Entrepreneur Awards pose during the ceremony at Istanbul Bilgi University on Nov. 14.A group of young entrepreneurs with sustainable business plans have been honored for their contributions in a ceremony at Istanbul’s Bilgi University.
The Fifth Bilgi Young Social Entrepreneur Awards, initiated by the university, was held on Nov. 14. Ten projects received honors this year, with the award-winners receiving cash prizes, along with a chance to become part of a global network of young entrepreneurs aiming to make a difference.
The 10 social entrepreneurs selected annually, in cooperation with the Sylvan/Laureate Foundation and the International Youth Foundation (IYF), will receive a customized training program offered by the organization to help them develop leadership skills and strengthen their positive impact in communities.
“Now in its fifth year, the annual Bilgi Young Social Entrepreneur Awards are able to contribute to an accumulation of knowledge and momentum in the field of youth-led social change,” said Çağrı Bağcıoğlu, vice-president of the board of trustees at Istanbul Bilgi University.
“We have been trying to contribute to projects initiated by social entrepreneurs who create a positive change on society, not just financially but also with Istanbul Bilgi University’s traditional support program for civil society,” Bağcıoğlu said.
“We are proud to see the increase in the number of social entrepreneurs and the adoption of their concepts in Turkey, as well as the emergence of new leaders in this important field,” he added.
Turkey is no stranger to entrepreneurship, but adding the word “social” can make a big difference to many lives.
“When the spirit of entrepreneurship meets the awareness of social injustice, social entrepreneurship emerges,” said Suat Özçağdaş, co-founder of the Istanbul-based Center for Social Innovation Turkey (CSI Turkey), a supporter of the project.
“Social innovation is a remedy for youth unemployment and many other social problems. Changing the standard problem-solving methods in an institutional way is our goal,” Özçağdaş added.
Some of the projects honored this year include:
Yuvarla.org (Emre Danacı, 28): Yuvarla is a social entrepreneurship project that modernizes the idea of coin donation boxes for the new digital economy. With Yuvarla, you can round up the total amount of your online shopping purchases and directly support a non-governmental organization from a list of options, in a convenient way.
Evimi Tut (Beybin Esen, 26): Evimi Tut (Rent my house) is a website that aims to bring ex-tenants and potential future tenants together in order to bypass the real estate commission process.
Ustamdan (Gökçe Gülcüler, 22): Ustamdan.com is an e-commerce site designed to revive and provide sustainability for centuries-old artisanal practices in Anatolia, which are at risk of disappearing.
Software Club (Tugay Tuna, 18): The project aims to help high school students become software coders, providing them with the necessary materials and education. With half of its members being women, Software Club also aims to break the overall male bias in the industry.