From Challenges to Triumphs: Inspiring Tales of Women Entrepreneurs Reshaping Turkish Business

In the Spotlight: Some inspiring Women Entrepreneurs from Turkey

#WomenInBusiness #TurkishEntrepreneurs #InspiringWomen #BreakingBarriers

In the dynamic landscape of Turkish business, women entrepreneurs are becoming prominent as a powerful force, challenging norms & reshaping industries. Despite grappling with challenges like gender discrimination and limited access to funding, these women are not just navigating the business world, but they are leaving an indelible mark.

Diverse in their backgrounds and business sectors, these women are pioneers in technology, manufacturing, and various service sectors. Their journeys are marked by resilience, determination, and the ability to triumph over obstacles, and they are serving as a beacon of inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Here we dive into the stories of some inspiring women who, against the odds, have carved their paths to success, contributing significantly to the entrepreneurial tapestry of Turkey. So, join us as we explore the triumphs, challenges, and transformative impact of these women entrepreneurs, who continue to inspire and pave the way for a new era in Turkish business.

> Demet Mutlu, Founder, Trendyol

Demet Mutlu, Founder and CEO of Trendyol, which is an e-commerce operating in Turkey and Europe. After she left Harvard Business School in 2010, she founded Trendyol. Mutlu’s enterprise Trendyol is one of the biggest Turkish enterprises and a global inspiration. By 2022, Trendyol moved ahead to meet users in more than 27 countries.

Besides, she is also an investor and co-founder of Peak Games, and one of the largest companies in the global mobile gaming industry which was acquired by Zynga for $1.8 billion.

She is currently one of the women entrepreneurs who have been on the lists of the most prestigious publications such as Fortune, Forbes, and BOF 500 for more than 10 years.

> Hande Çilingir, Co-Founder & CEO, Insider

Hande Çilingir, Co-Founder and CEO is backed by her studies at Shanghai University in China after receiving her degree in Economics and Management at the London School of Economics. It was after getting some experience in the corporate world, that she co-founded Insider with Arda Koterin, Sinan Toktay, and Serhat Soyuerel.

Insider is the first unicorn company in the software field with a valuation of over 1 billion dollars – by providing the creation of tools used to increase sales for e-commerce sites. It continues to be one of the most important Turkish brands served in more than 120 countries, since its foundation in 2012.

Plus awards have come her way too, for in 2016, she has been awarded “The Woman Entrepreneur of the Year” by Microsoft and has been listed as “Top 3 Women CEOs located outside of the US” according to Crunchbase.

> Hanzade Doğan Boyner, Founder, Hepsiburada which is called “Amazon of Turkey”

Hanzade Doğan Boyner is a successful businesswoman from Turkey, who completed her undergraduate studies at the London School of Economics and MBA degree at Columbia University. She founded Hepsiburada in 1998 – one of the country’s largest e-commerce platforms.

She took part in the management of numerous important companies across different sectors. She also started the “Women’s Empowerment through Technology” program that encourages many women entrepreneurs from all around.

It is significant that Hepsiburada is called “Amazon of Turkey” by Fortune Turkey. And it is still one of the most valuable platforms in today’s e-commerce ecosystem. It also has an extensive product range and is popular among Turkish consumers.

> Aylin Yazıcıoğlu, Founder, Nicole Restaurant

While studying at the third year of a doctorate program at Cambridge University, Aylin Yazıcıoğlu decided to change tracks completely. Then, after studying at the Ecole Cordon Bleu in Paris and working alongside chefs at reputed Michelin starred venues as Restaurant Alain Senderens in Paris and Couvert Couvert in Leuven, she launched her own restaurant in Istanbul with her partner Kaan Sakarya, on the top floor of the Tom Suites boutique hotel. When Sakarya left in 2015, Yazıcıoğlu took on the role of chef as well as manager.

Ever since its inception, Nicole Restaurant has climbed its way to achieve Michelin worthy levels, with seasonal tasting menus that successfully bridge the worlds of Turkish ingredients and French techniques. It is acclaimed as one of the world’s best restaurants and certainly one of the most compelling, sophisticated culinary experiences to be had in Turkey. 

> Nardane Kuşçu, Founder, Narköy

Nardane Kuşçu established Narköy in 2007 aiming to promote organic agriculture through a modern educational facility that is both a farm and hotel.

With its 14 rooms and nomad tents overlooking untouched nature, a restaurant that serves organic farm meals, indoor and outdoor classrooms, and an organic farm, Narköy is one of Turkey’s most modern ecotourism destinations. Here visitors can take part in training, activities, and workshops, while also enjoying a holiday in a magnificent forest.

> Gamze Cizreli, Founder, Big Chefs

Gamze Cizreli completed her Business Administration degree at METU and worked in the defence industry for three years. She was involved in different enterprises until she found Big Chefs in Ankara in 2007. After a checkered experience, she stepped into the world of food and pastry.

Big Chefs is basically a culinary training company; and the company conducts training programs and workshops for culinary professionals to help them enhance their skills and knowledge. Big Chefs also provides mentoring and coaching services to help chefs and aspiring chefs grow their careers. Some of the workshops offered by Big Chefs include chocolate making, baking, and pasta making.

Despite the challenges and prejudices against the women in the entrepreneurship world, she has managed to get her name on the “Women Entrepreneurs Who Make a Difference” list.
Started as a small food and beverage cafe, today it has turned into a popular chain restaurant.


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