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Garanti Bank, over a decade empowering women entrepreneurs

Garanti Bank believes that for any economy to achieve further growth, the participation of women in the labor force is crucial. Women must be encouraged to be entrepreneurs, and women- owned businesses must be supported. Garanti took action in 2006, becoming the first private bank to define  women entrepreneurs as a separate client segment. “To empower women entrepreneurs”, Garanti Bank has had a sustainable Women Entrepreneurs program over a decade. In this respect, the activities focus on four core areas; access to finance, encouragement, education and penetrating new markets.

In collaboration with ‘Ekonomist’ magazine and the Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey (KAGIDER), Garanti Bank initiated in 2007 the ‘Turkey’s Woman Entrepreneur Contest’. With this contest, Garanti Bank aims to encourage women entrepreneurs and to publicize their inspiring stories.

It offers all participants the opportunity to “win” and “promote their business nationwide”. All women entrepreneurs residing in Turkey and who are managing shareholders of their company, with an annual turnover not exceeding TL 40 million, can participate in the contest. While the criteria may differ among categories, all applications will be evaluated based on the level of risk appetite, courage, employment generation, sustainable financial structure, effective use of marketing methods and environmental consciousness.

33,000 women entrepreneurs since 2007

The multiplier effect of the contest is considerably high: almost 33.000 women entrepreneurs have applied since 2007; 85% of the finalists created a positive impact on the other women in their networks to become entrepreneurs. The annual sales of the finalists increased exponentially.

Applications for the 11th Turkey’s Women Entrepreneurs Contest  have started.  Awards are granted in four categories. The winner of the ‘Turkey’s Woman Entrepreneur’ will be granted TL30.000; and the winners of the ‘Turkey’s Promising Woman Entrepreneur’, ‘Turkey’s Woman Entrepreneur who has created difference in her region’ and the ‘Turkey’s Women Social Entrepreneur’ categories will be entitled to a reward of TL 25,000 in cash. The candidates willing to become role models for other female entrepreneurs with their achievements can apply to the contest until September 15 2017 from the website www.kadingirisimciyarismasi.com.

Engaged relationships with Garanti Bank

This award also represents an opportunity for the Bank to develop engaged relationships with  the women entrepreneurs and the bank arranges follow up meetings and keeps in contact for their financial and non-financial needs. Last year’s ‘Turkey’s Woman Entrepreneur’, Rana Tülin Yazıcı, is currently good customer of the bank. She is a uniform designer and supplier for the EMEA regions of Accor, Fairmont Raffles, Swissotel, Radisson Blu, Marriott Group hotels with her own business: Dress Best Uniforms.

Aslı Elif Tanuğur, ‘Turkey’s Promising Woman Entrepreneur’ in  2016 is now very well known  with her innovative works in the food industry. With the ‘SBS Scientific Bio Solutions’ she founded in 2013, Tanuğur created a new concept and altered the consumption perception of bee products and currently strives to invent new types of products by mixing propolis, royal jelly and honey.

‘Turkey’s Woman Entrepreneur who  has created a difference in Her Region’, Ayten Çöl practices sustainable farming in Kılçak Farm of 2,000 decares of land located in Geldingen Plain in Amasya. Çöl has so far grown potatoes, onions, corns and beans on Geldingen Plain and practices greenhouse vegetable growing in order to plant the fifth product.

Last year’s ‘Turkey’s Woman Social Entrepreneur’, Nardane Kuşçu, demonstrated that it is possible to create an real organic farm and a wellness center all in one site in Turkey with her Narköy project. Narköy is located on 100 decares of land in Kandıra, Kocaeli and offers services as a farm that is ecologically sustainable and has minimum carbon footprint.

For the past 11 years, Garanti has become a model and inspired numerous national and international organizations with this contest. Garanti acted as pioneer in supporting women entrepreneurship in the private sector and also drew attention of other organizations in Turkey to this area and contributed to number of activities for supporting women entrepreneurship to increase.

This is the story of Ayten Çöl, one of the winners of 2016 ‘Turkey’s Woman Entrepreneur Contest’.

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