Turkish Entrepreneurs Heading for Silicon Valley

Issue 72 - March 2017

The winners in the acceleration program of Yeni Fikirler Yeni İşler (YFYİ), which has been organized by ODTÜ Teknokent for the 12th time this year, have been announced. During the application period which spans from March to May, more than 1,500 applicant projects were submitted to the program. In the award ceremony of the YFYİ program, the applicants presented their projects to compete for prizes in 10 categories and the winning projects were awarded with prizes ranging between 25,000 TL and 100,000 TL. Furthermore, all the award-winning teams have thus been entitled to participate in the 4-week camp to be organized in the T-Jump Acceleration Center run by ODTÜ Teknokent in the Silicon Valley - San Francisco, California.

More than 200 Ideas Commercialized

Speaking at the award ceremony of the YFYİ acceleration program, Mustafa Birşen Kök, the Rector of ODTÜ, said, “We received more than 8,000 applications for this adventure we started 12 years ago. I believe that our young entrepreneurs will own the bright future of our country. This application, which ODTÜ Teknokent has successfully implemented for 12 years, is not only supported by entrepreneurs, but also enables the development of the economy of our country, the continuation of investments and the creation of employment.”

Mustafa Kızıltaş, the General Manager of ODTÜ Teknokent, who spoke after the Rector of ODTÜ Mustafa Birşan Kök, stated that ODTÜ Teknokent believed in the entrepreneurs in Turkey from the first days of its activities and realized the goal of forming the billion-dollar technology company in May. Kızıltaş said, “The ‘YFYİ’ concept, which we organized in 2005 with the concept of a business idea competition for students, and is now held with the idea of “how can we build a technology company that will continue to operate worldwide. Therefore, YFYİ is no longer a contest, but an acceleration program. Kızıltaş continued his words with the contributions of the Yeni Fikirler Yeni İşler to the country’s economy and said, “Over this 12-year period, more than 200 projects joined the economy by the establishment of incorporations and employment of over 1,000 people. Today, we made an investment for two buildings at an amount of 80 million TL in order to improve the physical means of ODTÜ Teknokent. I believe that our country will develop by further supporting science and technology.”

What does YFYİ bring to entrepreneurs?

As in previous years, YFYİ has been providing support to entrepreneurs who are both in the idea stage and the entrepreneurs who have established their incorporations but have not yet matured. Applications of undergraduate, graduate, Ph.D. or undergraduate students are received under T-IDEA and in addition to venture capital support, the students gain training and demonstration rights at the T-JUMP Acceleration Center located in San Francisco, CA, USA. Moreover, project groups that meet T-BIGG criteria of TÜBİTAK have a chance to benefit from capital support of 150,000 TL.  The enterprises under 4 years of age are taken into consideration within the scope of T-START, hastening the commercialization process of the projects.