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Girls in Turkey on how they started a successful business


Girls in Turkey on how they started a successful business

Basak Taspinar Degim, 37 years old, co-founder of


About how it all began

After eight years of living in the United States, my husband and I returned to Turkey to raise our son closer to family. When we arrived in Istanbul, we could not find the masters to equip the house for a long time. And there was an idea to create an application and a website on the Internet to gather all the experts. Many acquaintances rejected the idea, saying that in Turkey it wouldn't succeed and everything is based only on connections. However, I quit my job and started developing a project.

About the project

"Armut" - "pear", comes from an old Turkish saying about lazy people waiting for something to happen. Our mission is to use technology to make it easier to find local service providers online. appeared in 2011. It is an online service platform for all human needs operating in different regions of Turkey. Here you can quickly order the service, choose a professional in the field, look at the reviews. The range of services is wide, from photographers and cleaning to interior designers and nutritionists.

About women in business

I wanted to break down the prejudices. Since 2011, I have been working in a male-dominated sector. Many people think only men can do work related to technology and application development. Because of these prejudices, women are unable to develop their talents and are limited to certain areas. But there's no concept of "female" or "male" profession. More than half of our team members are women. In Turkey as a whole, only 16% of women are in leadership positions.

I wanted to break down the prejudices

The most important thing is the support and trust of the family. That's how we will remove the imposed rules of behaviour and open up opportunities for children. They understand that any girl can open her own business and manage it.

About the difficulties

In Turkey scientific education for girls, especially in STEM fields is an important issue. There are obstacles with the supply of equipment, parts, robotics for the study of high technologies. Need for such specialists in the world is increased. Therefore, scientific and technical education should be provided to girls and boys alike from school age.

About the plans

We have over 1.2 million visitors per month and customer satisfaction has reached 98%. We have succeeded and will continue to grow.

Elis Yılmaz, hometown — Istanbul,, @elis.yilmaz


How it all began

I worked for three years as a coordinator and vice-president of various projects in the student clubs of the University. Then I worked in sales and marketing departments of corporate companies. At the end of 2014, my friend and I created a social network about internships in companies in Turkey.

We analyzed that HR agencies and business owners can't find a platform to connect with youth easily. Many young people don't even aware of internship opportunities. We turned this problem into a business idea.

About the project

There are good examples of internship sites in the US market. But we are becoming the dominant site focused on the European market. More than 400,000 students aged 18 to 24, are already registered in our database. These are students from major cities of Turkey. We work with 150 companies, including international ones. It is nice that employers pay attention to young talents. Our goal is to bring together young talents and firms that are ready to give them jobs and experience. This is the first step to a good career.

Our goal is to bring together young talents and firms that are ready to give them jobs and experience

We have created an online environment where anyone can find the right internship. Companies using the platform create a profile where they can tell about themselves and vacancies.

About women in business

Entrepreneurship is a difficult but enjoyable job. I advise not to be afraid and implement the ideas. We took the opportunity to participate in the entrepreneurial ecosystem development program. We won several prizes and supports from large companies, attracted investors. The team consists of 14 people, and we are engaged in development and HR.

I had no difficulty being a girl in the business world. There are places where I get extra attention. You have to be ready to show intelligence and ability to lead. Be prepared for criticism when you create something new and innovative. Entrepreneurship can not be lead without passion and interest. In many ways, success depends on motivation.

About the difficulties

No one gives detailed information on how to set up organizational and management processes. We examined marketing, sales, finances by ourselves.

About the plans

The main goal is to develop the client base of students and companies.

Duygu Yılmaz, hometown — Ankara, @duyguyilmazbiolive


How it all began

By my profession, I studied how olive seeds used as a dietary supplement and how they affect human health. At some point, I realized the structure of the seeds is compatible with the biomaterial, which is not enough. I started thinking about producing biomaterials at an affordable price on a large scale.

I quit my job to do research

I quit my job to do research. Time passed, and my idea was accepted in the Incubation centre of Istanbul Technical University. Then I took MBA courses and found work partners.

About the project

In Turkey, the biomaterials mainly imported. We have proposed a production technology that can be applied domestically and used in the production of household appliances, electronic devices and cars. At first, we had no support. Faced with the fact that in Turkey no one saw the financial benefits of the case. We lectured, spoke to audiences and explained the benefits of the product. After that we went abroad, where took first place in the competition of women's entrepreneurship. We received several awards and found investors.

We produce antibacterial bioplastic that does not contain microorganisms, increases the shelf life of products and prevents contamination. Plastic almost does not decompose in nature. But biomaterial does not harm human health. Plastic is found everywhere, starting with children's "dummy" affecting the health of children. Our company has set a goal to minimize the risks to the environment and any person.

About women in business

Society has certain prejudices, especially when you lead business associated with the industry and started at such a young age like me. It is frightening and alarming people. And makes it hard to get support. I think women have the right to do and produce whatever they want. In Turkey, many ambitious women entrepreneurs boldly start a business. And for me, a great reward is the acceptance and understanding that women can be successful in business.

We continue working at Yildiz Technical University. A whole technopark has been created here, a special ecosystem with good working conditions. Also, the University often hold conferences and meetings where we are invited. And I believe that scientific universities should be the starting point in entrepreneurship. There are many active students and interested companies. Such joint work bears fruit.


About the difficulties

Biomaterials not used in our country. But widely known in Europe, America and especially in the Asia-Pacific region. In some places, this is a type of material required in production by law.

After we had raised this issue, we received the support of society. Turkey is close to signing a law on the production of bags and bioplastics.

About the plans

Produce biomaterial from many recycled products and biological waste. We also study the field of cosmetology to produce products from natural materials.

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