'Women at the Top' event, held online by TOBB Women Entrepreneurs Council (KGK) in Bursa which carries on the activities under the umbrella of the Bursa Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has started with the session 'Women in Digital World.'
The first session of summit, whose theme was "There is No Limit to What a Woman can Accomplish" and which would last three weeks, was held. In the session with the topic 'Women in Digital World - the Rise of Women's Leadership in Digital World', Mrs. Sezen Sungur Saral, the founding partner of Turkish technology company Reeder, and Mrs. Tülin Akın, the founding partner of TABIT Agricultural Information and Communication Technologies, shared their inspiring success stories. The summit, moderated by Mrs. Sevgi Saygın, President of the TOBB Women Entrepreneurs Council in Bursa, was attended by Mr. İbrahim Burkay, President of the Board of Directors of BTSO, Mr. Muhsin Koçaslan, Board Member of BTSO, and the TOBB KGK Executive Committee Members.
DIGITALIZATION OFFERS GREAT OPPORTUNITIES TO ENTREPRENEURS
Mr. İbrahim Burkay, President of the Board of Directors of BTSO, said they were witnessing a period unprecedented in human history due to the global pandemic. President Mr. Burkay noted that a significant paradigm shift in the economy was expected in the post-pandemic period and they, as the representatives of business world, would focus on the new opportunities to emerge. Drawing attention to the fact that digital platforms will provide great opportunities for entrepreneurs in the new period, Mr. İbrahim Burkay added: “During the pandemic, the main priorities of enterprises, in addition to health measures, have been digital media, social media, and e-commerce. As BTSO, we expect our women entrepreneurs to direct their efforts in these areas. In this way, we believe that more value-added initiatives will emerge. Our 'Women at the Top' event will be a strong source of motivation for the entrepreneurial ecosystem”.
WE NEED THE POTENTIAL OF WOMEN
Mr. Muhsin Koçaslan, Board Member of BTSO, emphasized that Turkey would need the potential and the vigor of women more than ever, especially in the post-pandemic period. Mr. Koçaslan also said he believed that women were going to make significant contributions to the country's recovery process and wished the summit to be beneficial and fruitful.
THE RESILIENCE OF OUR ECONOMY WILL INCREASE
Mrs. Sevgi Saygın, President of the TOBB Women Entrepreneurs Council in Bursa, stated that they decided to hold the summit on the digital platform as the use of digital technologies increased in business life after the outbreak of the pandemic. “All countries are currently creating various road maps to make their post-pandemic economy more resilient. We think that, in this process, it is women's participation in the economy that is one of the main issues to be focused on for sustainable development. The resistance of our economy against similar crises in the future will also increase provided that we can increase the presence and empowerment of women in the economy,” Mrs. Saygın said.
THE USE OF DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES WILL BE A DETERMINANT IN COMPETITION
Mrs. Saygın stated that, as TOBB Women Entrepreneurs Council in Bursa, they believed women might have much more important roles in building the future of Turkey, and added: “This is the reason why we have held our 'Women at the Top' event. In our summit, which aims to strengthen women's positions in the economy and promote entrepreneurship, we intend to address the entrepreneurship in every aspect. In the first session, we will talk about digital initiatives. It will be determinant of success in the competition to use digital technologies effectively in the new era. We are quite happy to host role model women entrepreneurs Mrs. Sezen Sungur Saral and Mrs. Tülin Akın, who have been very successful in this field. I would also like to thank President Mr. İbrahim Burkay and Board of Directors of BTSO for their support in the organization of this summit”.
MARKET LEADER OF TURKEY IN TABLET COMPUTER
Mrs. Sezen Sungur Saral talked about the decision-making process for entrepreneurship after eight years of professional working life and her success story. Noting that paradigms had shifted in the economy after the economic crisis of 2008, Mrs. Saral stated: “The international economic conjuncture inspired my courage to have my business. Amazon was selling e-book readers at that time and said device was not being sold in Turkey. Since I was interested in reading, my husband and I introduced the first e-book reader in our country. We did not have tablet computers or smartphones in our mind. However, in the ongoing process, our product portfolio has adapted to the evolution of technology. We, currently, are the leader of tablet computer market in Turkey. Our sales figures are higher than those of our global competitors. We are the only domestic brand producing smartphones at the time being. We have also made the first domestically produced children's watch in our Samsun factory. During the pandemic, we have also invested in the medical field".
SOCIAL MOTIVATION NEEDED
“Employees in companies managed by women can work more happily and peacefully for longer. However, women need to find the courage within themselves. At this point, I think women need social motivation rather than the economic one. There is social pressure on women who want to get a start in business life. This is a situation that affects the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem. We are ready to provide the necessary support in order to pave the way for entrepreneurs, but women, on the other hand, need to be ready to fight more than anyone else and put their hearts and souls into their jobs,” said Mrs. Saral, emphasizing that women can multitask and be good team leaders thanks to their developed emotional intelligence.
SHE ESTABLISHED ONE OF THE FIRST SMART VILLAGES OF THE WORLD
Mrs. Tülin Akın uttered that when she was an agricultural marketing student in 2004, she realized the problems in agriculture and problems of farmers and started working on different solutions. She established the first agricultural web page when she was 22 realizing that technology was not utilized in agriculture at all and there was no web page on agriculture. Mrs. Akın also informed farmers about the website by visiting nearly every village since farmers did not have computers and were not connected to the Internet in those years. Mrs. Akın noted that she witnessed other problems affecting the purchasing power of farmers in this process, and added: “I saw then that microloans were needed. Although there were large-scale agricultural loans, there was no such support. Since the farmers did not have monthly income, they could not benefit from the credit card system, either. I had this system set up by interviewing with the banks. We created teams to raise awareness on credit use, and approximately twelve thousand villages were visited”.
"WE DO NOT AVOID TECHNOLOGY; WE AVOID TAKING RISKS"
Mrs. Tülin Akın stated that the data such as marketplace prices, stock market prices, agricultural grant supports and weather information was sent to the mobile phones of the farmers thanks to the widespread use of technology. Mrs. Akın also added that the number of users, which was 60 thousand in the first three years, reached one million six hundred thousand at the time being. Their business model set an example around the world, and they transferred the model to six countries. They sustained their initiatives considering that farmers need training.
"We travelled villages with the 'Farmer Training Truck' from 2009 to 2015 in order to spread the agricultural technologies used around the world in our country. We visited some villages three times and had the chance to observe the developments. In villages exhibiting development, we generally observed that when a farmer tried new practices and got positive results, others joined him. This showed us that farmers didn’t actually avoid technology, but they avoided taking risks. Accordingly, we established one of the world's first smart villages in Aydın in 2016. We provide information to groups of farmers visiting the village about smart irrigation, artificial intelligence-based irrigation, early warning systems, and sensors," Mrs. Akın said.
THE SECOND SESSION AT THE DIGITAL SUMMIT ON JUNE 16th
Second meeting of the digital summit will be held on Tuesday, June 16 th, 2020, at 16:16. Mrs. Aslı Elif Tanuğur Samancı, Founder of BEE’O, and Mrs. Ebru Baybara Demir, Social Entrepreneur and Chef, will be appearing as guests to the event on "Innovative and Social Entrepreneurship - Why is Innovative and Social Entrepreneurship So Important in the New Normal?"