Export and Business Advice From Successful Businesswomen at 'Women Export Talks'

Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM) organized the second of the “Women Export talks” webinar series, which shared the recommendations of successful businesswomen, and how they started exporting. The seminar which was done under the title of with the title of “How did we start exporting, how did we accomplish it”, aimed at encouraging women entrepreneurs to export, was held with the participation of Nilgün Özdemir, Vice President of TİM Women Council, and Gülden Yılmaz, member of the Koton Board of Directors, as the speaker.

Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM), which is the only umbrella organization of exports with the 61 exporters' associations, 27 sectors, and 95 exporters' in Türkiye, carried out the second of the “Women Export talks” webinar series online on 19 November World Women's Entrepreneurs Day to encourage female entrepreneurs to export. The seminar which was done under the title of with the title of “How did we start exporting, how did we accomplish it?”, was held with the participation of Nilgün Özdemir, Vice President of TİM Women Council, and Gülden Yılmaz, member of the Koton Board of Directors, as the speaker.

“If you enjoy what you do, you will succeed”

Stating that she entered business life at the age of 18, Vice President of TİM Women Council, Nilgün Özdemir said, “Education will also be discussed if we are talking about exports. I graduated from Darüşşafaka High School in 1980. I have not any high education because I did not opportunities. It was like that for a lot of families. I had to bring money home and work somewhere. I speak two languages and I have 10 finger typewriters. After finishing school, I got an offer from a clothing company. This was the turning point of my life. It had started exports at a brand's store, and it came to the offer for marketing the surplus products to me. if someone needs money, it does not matter what they do. No matter what you are doing, success comes at that rate. I did my job so well that I had started to sell to Anadolu. My hands were shaking from making packages. I did such a turnover that they only allowed me to stay there for 6 months. Then my brother-in-law invited me to the factory. At the time, we exported in very difficult conditions.”

“Be a man or woman; work is important”

Reminding that there are projects that support women entrepreneurs, and that the Ministry of Commerce has opened separate departments for entrepreneur women, Özdemir said, “Today exports is easy. There are encouraging and opportunities. We must give back our knowledge to our country. I am celebrating my 40th year in business life this year, but I still want to contribute. It does not matter be man or woman, you must work. We have an Ekoteks Laboratory which supports the exporter. Our range of products has evolved. As our country, we exported $1.5 billion worth of mask overalls and white coat. If exporters are united and clustered, they use more effective its power.”

“We are strong women, Türkiye exist with its strong women”

Vice President of TİM Women Council, Nilgün Özdemir, who advises women entrepreneurs, said that it is very important to integrate into the changing world and that the world market should be closely monitored. Özdemir pointed out that the female exporter is more important for strong Türkiye, noted, “If you are going to be a brand, you need to start with the design. When there's trust, you are already a brand. This is the way it is in every field. It is not that easy being a brand. The most important reason why we stand out is that we can follow the world and adapt. It is very important that our female entrepreneurs must research tirelessly. They reach out to us and we shall talk. Make sure they reach out to us and we shall talk. The more we can support them, the further we can increase our exports, the more we will have fulfilled our civic duty. I would like to thank our Chairman İsmail Gülle for his vision, which gave us this opportunity today.”

“Courage and entrepreneurial spirit are required”

Koton Board Member Gülden Yılmaz told the story of starting exports as follows: “Our story started in the 80s. We started manufacturing by selling exports' surplus and then we opened a store. While we were thinking whether we can do wholesaling?”, We collected 150 thousand goods and we put them to the warehouse. We collected the goods but there were no customers. On the occasion of a friend who sells garments in Laleli, we met our customer who will sell our first goods from Austria. We sent him a selection. He liked the goods, and then we sent 7,000 pieces. That is how we started our first export. We worked hard to send the goods. But there was courage first, and the spirit of entrepreneurship...

“We exported $150 million last year”

Gülden Yılmaz said that their exports were 150 million dollars at the end of 2019, they have currently 203 abroad, 301 domestics, including a total of 504 stores. Yılmaz "We have about 11 thousand employees. Turnover is also approximately 4 billion TL. We also make a big export through e-trade. Today we ship to 15 countries in e-commerce. Our goal is to bring this to 50 countries by the end of 2021. Our biggest market is Russia. There are dealers who buy wholesale goods from us. Our e-trade is 30 percent of the total turnover".

“Sustainability and to make a difference in the product are very important”

Emphasizing that the entrepreneurs of this period are lucky because of a large number of opportunities according to his period, "There is a lot of support from marketing to product development, from exports to manufacturing. TİM's support is also important. It is also important to be a little curious, to reach out to information with passion without getting bored. It is necessary to make a difference with the product. You must think about it and listen to the customer. The vision of sustainability is also very important when creating a brand. Companies, that do this, are taking a step forward” she said.

TİM's support for female entrepreneurs

Since 2015, more than 140 female entrepreneurs were supported.

65% of supported female entrepreneurs are in provinces other than İstanbul.

The first 3 sectors, concentrated by female entrepreneurs, were software, biotechnology, and food.

In 2020, 33 new female entrepreneurs were included in the programs.

Supported female entrepreneurs employ close to 1,000 people.

In 2019, 52 female entrepreneurs achieved a turnover of TL 158 million and 20 entrepreneurs exported $12 million.

Female entrepreneurs have received investments of TL 60 million so far.

TİM Women Council

In October 2018, the “TİM Women's Council” was established within Turkish Exporters Assembly. The purposes of the council are:

Increasing number of women represented in the business world with female exporters and female delegates.

Ensuring the integration of female entrepreneurs into business life.

Rapid resolution of the problems faced by female exporters in the business world More efficient execution of projects put forward by female exporters...