“Strengthening Refugee Entrepreneurship in Turkey” Istanbul Workshop Held

Representatives from both public and private sectors, NGOs and academic world have showed great interest to “Strengthening Refugee Entrepreneurship in Turkey” workshop held on March 8th at Dedeman Hotel Gayrettepe.

In this workshop, organized by ActHuman Social Inclusion Initiative together with UNHCR and with the financial support of Turkish Republic and European Union, İNGEV President Vural Çakır, UNHCR Livelihoods Manager Damla Taşkın and Dr. Hakan Orduhan, Board Member of Istanbul Chamber of Commerce gave the opening speeches.

Following this, a video-story titled “Building Lives, Building Business”, which tells the stories of 8 refugee entrepreneurs in Istanbul, Hatay, Mersin and Adana was shown.

Social policy recommendation package titled “Enhancement of Refugee Entrepreneurship to Contribute Economy and Employment in Turkey” launched on september 27th, which is to make recommendations regarding legal and financial regulations, was presented by Syrian Economic Forum.

The representatives from major industrial associations also gave information to refugee entrepreneurs about their association’s structure, membership conditions and advantages.

In this session, The president of Istanbul Chamber of Merchants and Craftsmen (İSTESOB) Faik Yılmaz, the president of Istanbul Chamber of Real Estate Agents Nizameddin Aşa, Vice President of Turkish Clothing Manufacturers’ Association Ramazan Kaya, Vice President of DEİK Syrian Business Council Osman Nuri Önügören, Board Member of UTIKAD Cihan Yusufi, General Secretary of Food Retailers Association and Chain Stores Association Füsun Tavus Mumcu, General Secretary of Istanbul Chamber of Jewelry Dealers Ali Ramazan Şanto, Associate General Secretary of TUSIAD Melda Çele, Ready-Made Garment R&D Chief of Istanbul Ready-Made Garment Exporters’ Association Ahmet Şişman, ITO Representative of KOSGEB Kerim Bilir, Industrial Structuring Representative of TÜRKONFED Özgün Pelit, Corporate Communications Respresentative of TAYSAD Sercan Duygan made presentations about their associations.

After this session, an information sharing and Q&A session was held. Limitless Corporate Consultancy Services General Manager Yunus Beyhan made a presentation regarding “Turkish Commercial Legal Framework and Regulations for Business Registration” besides that, he has also shared datas about the “Refugee Entrepreneurship Support Line” which is active since January 2018.

From Ministry of Economy, General Directorate of Incentive Implementation and Foreign Investment, Ali Can Kahya also made a presentation titled “State Incentives to Enhance Entrepreneurship in Turkey”

During the workshop, March 8th International Women’s Day was remembered and flowers were given to women participants.

Turkiye-deki-Multeci-Girisimciligini-Güclendirmek-Istanbul-Calistayi-1 Turkiye-deki-Multeci-Girisimciligini-Güclendirmek-Istanbul-Calistayi-2 Turkiye-deki-Multeci-Girisimciligini-Güclendirmek-Istanbul-Calistayi-3 Turkiye-deki-Multeci-Girisimciligini-Güclendirmek-Istanbul-Calistayi-4 Turkiye-deki-Multeci-Girisimciligini-Güclendirmek-Istanbul-Calistayi-5

INGEV has launched the “HOPES – Education is a Must” Project

“Education is a Must” Project has been started by INGEV and Bahçeşehir University Center of Migration and Urban Studies (BAUMUS). The Counseling Committee meeting of this project was organized with the participation of the representatives from various organizations who work for the education of the Syrians. During the Counseling Committee meeting, information about “Education is a Must” Project was shared. The current policies, applications about the admittance of the Syrians to higher education in Turkey and the scope of service of the Call Center which will be established as part of the project were also discussed during the meeting.


Launched as part of EU Regional Trust Fund, HOPES Regional Programme is conducted with the cooperation of Academic Exchange Services of Germany, British Council, Campuse France and Nuffic.

Thanks to this project, it would be possible to give information and counseling services to Syrians with higher education capabilities to be admitted to higher education.

The Call Center which will be established, will provide reliable counseling support to young Syrians about the procedures of the university applications, scholarship and dormitory opportunities, language courses and so on.

İGE-İ Antalya-Muratpaşa Workshop Was Held

Antalya-Muratpaşa Municipality Workshop was held with great participation on 28 October 2017. In the workshop, the solutions for better human development were discussed exclusively for districts/municipalities according to İGE-İ (Human Development Index – Districts) project results.


After a general presentation about İNGEV, İGE-İ Project results about Muratpaşa were presented.  After the presentation, group table discussions were held in order to identify the actions special to district/municipality’s IGE-İ results. After the discussions the recommendations were gathered on “Idea Tray”. Binnur Çakır, İNGEV Counseling Committee Member and Prof. Dr. Murat Şeker made the presentations. And also the Mayor aal.             Ümit Uysal and Municipality Departments’ Heads and counselors participated to the workshop.

Besides all this, Muratpaşa Municipality was given “Social Inclusive” award which was defined according to İNGEV’s İGE-İ (Human Development Index – Districts) published in the beginning of 2017.

After the workshop, the ideas which were created as actionable recommendations will be grouped and reported under the topics “Embrace”, Put Forward” and “Develop-Preserve”.

INGEV Presented the Results of “Relation of Employment and Education in Istanbul” Research in The Introductory Meeting Organized By İSTKA

One of the priority issues of the 2014-2023 which reveals the socio-economic development trends and potentials of Istanbul Area is the employment. And about this priority issue, İNGEV’s research called “Relation of Employment and Education in Istanbul” and İTÜ-Marmara Universities co-research “identification of the Employment Trends in Istanbul” which were both completed with the support of İSTKA (İstanbul Development Agency), were introduced in a meeting held in Istanbul Chamber of Industry.


The opening speeches of the meeting was made by Deputy General Secretary Haktan Akın and ISTKA General Secretary Özgül Özkan Yavuz. İSTKA Specialist Dr. Neşe Türkseven made a presentation about “2014 – 2023 Employment Strategies in Istanbul Region Plan”. Afterwards research reports were presented.


The results of the employment research conducted by İNGEV were presented by Renan Burduroğlu, Member of the Counseling Committee of İNGEV. Burduroğlu pointed out the importance of the women’s role in employment and said: “Women’s participation to the employment is very important. When education increases, the participation to the workforce also increases.”


Another employment research conducted by İTÜ and Marmara Universities were presented by Assoc Prof. Ilker Akgün from Marmara University, Business Administration Faculty and by Assoc. Prof. Aliye Ahu Akgün from İTÜ Architecture Faculty.


Employment Researches Introductory Meeting was ended with the Q&A session where project executives participated.

INGEV President Vural Çakır: “Syrian businesses in Turkey provide 100,000 jobs”

Since their arrival in the country as refugees, Syrian businesspeople have been actively participating and contributing to the Turkish economy. According to the latest statistics, around 8,100 firms with Syrian capital provide approximately 100,000 jobs in Turkey.

Vural Çakır, the chair of the Human Development Foundation (INGEV), said that there are 8,100 Syrian companies established with foreign capital status in Turkey and that the total employment of these companies is approaching 100,000.

Vural Çakır told Anadolu Agency (AA) that a strategic plan has to be made in the Syrian issue, recalling that many asylum seekers came to Turkey at the beginning of the Syrian civil war and that Turkey has been contributing humanitarian aid by allocating a huge amount of resources, but the asylum seekers’ length of stay in Turkey is prolonged because of the political uncertainty in Syria and the continuation of the war.

“With regards to the similar examples in history, normally those staying in border camps return to their countries after a certain period of time, but once a year passes and asylum seekers are scattered throughout the country, it gets harder to return,” Çakır said.

Stressing that Turkey has to solve short-term humanitarian problems on the one hand, and faces long-term strategic issues such as Syrians’ Turkish language education, cultural integration and adaptation to the business world on the other, Çakır said it is still unclear from which stages asylum seekers will pass and receive a definite status.

Çakır noted that only 5 percent of the Syrian population in Turkey lives in refugee camps and 95 percent are scattered in various cities and have become a part of daily life, adding that Syrian refugees gradually started to open their own businesses and that they have founded the largest number of companies in Turkey after Germans.

“There are 8,100 Syrian companies established in Turkey with foreign capital status. These companies were founded with an average capital of $50,000. The investment is approaching half a billion dollars,” Çakır said. “These companies, which are usually small and medium-sized businesses such as textiles, food and construction, employ an average of 9.4 people. The total employment of these companies is approaching 100,000. According to our research, there are 100,000 Syrians who work freely without establishing a company on their own account.”

Çakır said great responsibility falls to the chambers of commerce to ensure Syrian businesspeople in Turkey are able to adapt to the Turkish financial system in terms of legislation and register the Syrians working without permission.

Çakır said companies in Turkey are shy on the issue of Syrian asylum-seekers. “Many companies in the world are working on the issue of asylum seekers, but companies in Turkey are passive in this regard, they have to be braver.”

Huge Turnout for The First Conference of ActHuman Social Inclusion Hub

The first conference of ActHuman Social Inclusion Hub, which was carried out by the cooperation of INGEV and IPM and with the support of UNHCR and Syrian Economic forum, was held on 27 September 2017 in Salt Galata. Important repsentatives form public and private sectors, NGOs and academic world attended to this conference which was named as “To Improve the contribution of the companies, established by Syrians, to Employment and Economy”


This was the first time that Syrian entrepreneurs came together with the specialists of the public institutions and with the NGO managers.


The opening speeches were made by Vural Çakır, President of INGEV and by Prof. Dr. Fuat Keyman, Director of IPM. The conference was moderated by Berk Çoker, Director and Member of the Counseling Committee of INGEV. In the conference, Işık Oğuzertem, Country Director of Building Markets presented the results from the report called “Another Side to the Story”. A panel about the stories of the Syrian entrepreneurs was held where participants listened some success stories from Syrian entrepreneurs. And Ambassador Adnan Keçeci made a speech about the general condition of Syrians in Turkey. According to official records, the number of the companies (with the statue of foreign capital) established by Syrian refugees is around 8 thousand. But off the books it is estimated that this number surpasses 30 thousand.


The topic of how to support the entrepreneurship of Syrian refugees in order to increase the contribution of them to Turkish economy, employment and general integration was also discussed during the conference. As part of this discussion, Rami Sharrack, Director of Syrian Economic Forum, presented the Draft Policies Document which was prepared by Syrian Economic Forum, İPM and İNGEV. Incentives, tax and exemptions, working conditions, employment, business network, official framework and financial inclusion for Syrian entrepreneurs were all evaluated and discussed during this special session.


In the second part of the conference, two panels were held about Regulations and Business Related Comments within the scope of Draft Policies Document.


After the conference, The Draft Policies Document will be finalized and the final report will be shared with the people and organizations who work in this area.

ActHuman Social Inclusion Initiative has started with the cooperation of INGEV and IPM

The first conference of ActHuman Social Inclusion Initiative will be held on Wednesday, September 27 in Salt Galata.





  • With ActHuman, we intend to develop social inclusion policies with research and then discuss it at an effective conference to conclude with a resolution paper which would become a strategic document that any decision maker would benefit from.
  • The works are directed by a Steering Committee which includes representatives who are capable of analysing the work through every aspect.
  • Steering Committee’s co-chairmen are the director of IPM Fuat Keyman and İNGEV President Vural Çakır.


Venue: Salt Galata / İstanbul

Date: 27 September 2017

Time: 13:00 – 17:00

For more info: berk.coker@ingev.org

INGEV Finalized “Labor Market Assessment” Research

Projects targeting the urgent needs of more than 5 million Syrians seeking refuge in the neighboring countries due to the Syrian Crisis which entered its 7th-year last month are increasingly leaving their place to projects that meet longer-term needs. Especially, the importance of income generation and skills building projects is increasing. One of the projects which are in line with these is the INGEV’s Labor Market Assessment project which targeted Syrian and economically disadvantaged Turkish youth living in Istanbul.

Funded by a humanitarian aid organization specialized in the child protection field, this project was composed of two phases; phase one aiming to find out action sectors which can offer entry level positions to Syrian youth aged 18 to 25, and phase two which focused on identifying the suitable job opportunities, technical and other skills needed by these opportunities and training institutions which can offer the necessary skills training.  The research which was initiated towards the end of February 2017 was finalized and reported in May.

In the first phase of Labor Market Assessment, which was supported by desk research, interviews with leading employers, training institutions, employment agencies and vocational training centers and focus group discussions, Construction, Textile, Retail, Hospitality and Health sectors stood out due to reasons such as penetration by Syrians and the need of Arabic speaking employees in these sectors. After the first phase of the research, in the second phase, interviews with the sector representatives, HR representatives of companies, NGO representatives, and public officials were conducted and three group discussions were held with similar participants in order to receive their opinions about potentials of these sectors and possible challenges and opportunities. In these discussions, the main opinion was that Syrians can contribute to local economy especially by being employed in the occupations which are no longer desired by the host community but the legal procedures and fees are negatively affecting the employers.

In addition to these studies, a focus group discussion with Syrian youth aged between 17 and 25 was conducted to receive their opinion about their skills, job aspirations and the difficulties they encounter during their work life in Istanbul. Syrian youth who participated in the group discussion mentioned about cultural differences in the workplaces and the pay gap between them and the Turkish employees. The youth, who voiced their desire to returning to their country after the crisis, stated that their stay in Turkey may be longer than expected due to the continuing civil war in Syria and therefore they might have caused problems in Turkey, but still there is a need for thinking about the coexistence of the two societies.



Human Development Index – Districts (HDI-D) Workshops Are Ongoing

The HDI-D workshops are continuing to discuss the solutions for a better human development for each district/municipality. The workshops’ aim is to offer action proposals according to the indicators and criteria that are used in HDI-D.


At the workshops, the presentation of the results of HDI-D are shown to participants chosen by the municipalities. After the presentation, for every single municipality, İNGEV sets up table discussions where the suggestions are gathered at “Fikir Tepsisi” and grouped to be reported as “Ele al – Öne Çıkar – Geliştir/Koru”.

INGEV was at KUSIF “Social Value Matters” Summit

Strategic Management Advisory Board members Binnur Çakır and Berk Çoker represented INGEV at Koç University, April 10-11. This year’s motto at KUSIF was “Raise the voice, influence the change, maximize the value.”

On day one INGEV participated in table discussions “Turkey Specific Modeling Perspectives for Social Impact Measurement” and “Impact Evaluation in Migrant Integration” under the moderation of Özge Bilgili, Chairwoman for Dutch Association for Migration Research (DAMR).

On the second day INGEV joined two roundtables “Developing Social Impact Networks” and “Brand Effects at Creating Social Values”. The last session, “How to pursue different stakeholders to help Syrian refugees reach the labour market in Turkey?” was moderated by UNDP representative Ozan Çakmak.