The third and final session of 'Women at the Top' event, organized online by TOBB Women Entrepreneurs Council (KGK) in Bursa which carries on business under the roof of the Bursa Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was held with the title 'Women in Charge - Being a Woman Executive in Business Life.'
The closing session of the digital summit organized with the motto "There is No Limit to What a Woman can Accomplish" was held. At the summit moderated by Mrs. Sevgi Saygın, President of the TOBB Women Entrepreneurs Council in Bursa, Mrs. Berna Gözbaşı, Founder of BRN Bed and President of Kayserispor, and Mrs. Özlem Sarı, President of Erdek Chamber of Commerce, shared their inspiring success stories with the participants. The summit 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.
“WE AIM TO INCREASE WOMEN'S CONTRIBUTION TO ECONOMY”
Giving the opening speech of the summit, President Mr. İbrahim Burkay stated that as the Chamber, they attached great importance to the development of women entrepreneurship. President Mr. Burkay also noted that the impacts of women making up 50 percent of the country's population on the economy were not directly proportionate to the population and added: “The rate of urbanization in our country is increasing. Eighty percent of our population is concentrated in cities. However, we have not been able to sufficiently include women to the economy. While the participation of women in production is 60% in the European Union countries, this rate is approximately 30% in Turkey. In a developed city like Bursa, which has a population of more than 3 million, reaches a foreign trade volume of 26 billion dollars, and exports more than 121 member states of the United Nations, women should have more contribution to the economy. Therefore, Women Entrepreneurs Council in Bursa assumes an important responsibility. As BTSO, we will continue to provide any kind of support to the projects of the Council".
WE GIVE A STRONG MESSAGE BY SAYING 'THERE IS NO LIMIT TO WHAT A WOMAN CAN ACCOMPLISH'
Mrs. Sevgi Saygın, President of the TOBB Women Entrepreneurs Council in Bursa, said they took an important step that would contribute to Turkey's future thanks to the summit and added that all speakers in the summit showed what determinant roles women would take in building the future of Turkey. "We think that in the post-epidemic period when radical changes will occur especially in the work-life, more "woman's touch" is needed in the economy. Our summit, where exemplary success stories has been shared, will be an important source of motivation for women entrepreneurs. I would like to extend my thanks to Mr. İbrahim Burkay, President of the Board of Directors of BTSO, esteemed speakers, Executive Committee Members, Chief Executive Officers of East Marmara Region and Heads of the Associations in Bursa, who gave their strong support to our journey with the motto 'There is No Limit to What a Woman can Accomplish',” Mrs. Saygın stated.
DO NOT EXPECT POSITIVE DISCRIMINATION
Mrs. Berna Gözbaşı, Founder of BRN Bed, stated that she gave importance to women being in business and all areas of life. Mrs. Gözbaşı also talked about the importance of women to work and deserve their places in business life and said she never expected any kind of positive discrimination throughout her life. Mrs. Gözbaşı uttered that she first started working at zinc-lead factory in Kayseri and added: “It was a newly privatized factory. Although prices were set at the London Metal Exchange, we were unaware of the stock market prices at that time. So I went to London and learned about the stock market transactions. Three years after the factory shut down, I established my consultancy firm. I started to provide consultancy to metal companies. However, we experienced many economic crises during this period. Because of devaluation, I turned to export. Most companies in Kayseri did not have foreign trade departments. I collected the company catalogs and attended fairs in Tanzania, Ghana, and Nigeria. I found out later that since Nigeria was not a safe country, even men were going there with protection. I was one of those who established the trade bridge between Kayseri and Africa".
ONE OF THE BIGGEST BED EXPORTERS OF EUROPE
Mrs. Gözbaşı told the participants that the idea of manufacturing beds occurred to her when bedding fabric was requested in one of her travels in Africa and that she subcontracted the production at first, but then she decided to start her own business because of poor production quality. Mrs. Gözbaşı stated that they developed packaging methods that would make the beds more suitable for online sales and export. “We started production with ten employees in an area of 800 square meters. I had samples made from all beds produced around the world. In the meantime, I attended a fair with a small stand and it attracted a lot of attention. That's how we started our exports. We have established semi-finished product partnerships with local manufacturers in Europe. Currently, we are the biggest bed producer in Turkey. We have nearly a thousand employees. We are among the biggest exporters of not only Turkey but also Europe," Mrs. Gözbaşı said.
EXPAND YOUR NETWORK
Referring to the importance of the network in business life, Mrs. Berna Gözbaşı recommended women to take an active role in business organizations. Mrs. Gözbaşı said, “Be sure to expand your network. There is a lot of supply in the world. Everyone can produce everything in one way or the other. What is important is to be able to sell it. So expand your network, make business connections constantly. Take part in the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM), the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEİK), and chambers and exchanges. Fairs are not so effective nowadays. I am the biggest exporter of the industry, but I attend almost none of the fairs. Everything is taking place in the electronic environment. Especially in the post-pandemic period, digital fairs and bilateral business negotiations have come to the forefront. As the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEİK), we organize such events. There is a lot of competition, but there are also a lot of channels. Women should appreciate them well".
BECOMING THE PRESIDENT OF KAYSERIPOR MAKE TREMENDOUS IMPACT AROUND THE WORLD
Talking about the process of being elected as the President of Kayserispor, Mrs. Gözbaşı uttered, “One of the most important values that unite people in Kayseri is Kayserispor. Me becoming the president made tremendous impact all around the world, it was even mentioned in Times. I’m used to it by now. It has been an experience in which I learned to deal with many things, such as clubs, communities, and the press. When I took office, I said, ‘I don't have to know what offside is, it is the incumbency of players and referees to know what offside is. My job is to run the club’. Unfortunately, football clubs are not managed well in our country. It is impossible for Süper Lig clubs to run into debt with their current income. Poor management leads to this situation. Kayserispor is doing its best to stay in the league right now. We have managed to create a family atmosphere. We will continue to fight until the last second in order not to fall despite the bad results in the first half of the league".
WOMEN HAVE MANY UNEXPLORED CAPABILITIES
Mrs. Özlem Sarı, President of Erdek Chamber of Commerce, stated that she was against the implementation of quotas to increase the number of female executives, since such practices originated from the requests of women. “Women do not want anything, they are waiting for things to be presented to them. However, women have many unexplored capabilities. I try to uncover these capabilities of women and make them feel that they can accomplish. Me being elected as the president of Erdek Chamber of Commerce is a result of this. Despite the perception that a woman cannot be the president of a chamber of commerce, I entered the elections in 2009 and I was elected as Vice President, and later President in 2013. I have carried on such task for two terms. While researching to see the richness the region offers and to do planning for my work, I encountered geographical indication registration. With the cooperation of the Erdek Chamber of Commerce and Bereketli Eller Women's Cooperative, we have obtained the geographical indication registration for Kapıdağ Purple Onion. We have been making great efforts in the participation of women in the economy," Mrs. Sarı said.
Mrs. Sarı pointed out that women could do many tasks with the same level of success, and said, "When a woman is determined, she accomplishes. For it to be an accomplishment, it is necessary to have the will, and to continue step by step".