Published On: Tue, Aug 1st, 2017

KAGIDER, The Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey

The Republic of Turkey is a developing country with a very young population. It was established by Mustafa Kemal ATATURK, founder of modern Turkey and his colleagues almost a hundred years ago (1923) after a war of independence and the country has taken giant steps since that time.

Among many reforms to enable the Turkey’s march on the way to becoming a civilized and modern society and country, many major reforms were accomplished to include the right to vote given to Turkish women, long before many European countries took the same step in favor of their women. However, Turkey is still in need to improve the culture, education and life standard levels of its population and women in specific and see to it that they stand on their own feet to contribute to the country’s welfare and development with all their immense capability in all walks of life.

In fact, that is exactly how and why the idea of establishing KAGIDER came to the agenda of a group of women in love with and concerned about their country, ending up with establishment of this organization to extend its support and services to Turkish women with an entrepreneur spirit, all over Turkey.

KAGIDER, The Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey (KAGIDER) is a non-governmental organization founded by 37 women entrepreneurs in September 2007, with the goal to contribute to strengthening women entrepreneurs, all over Turkey.

The foundations of KAGIDER can be traced back to February 2002 by the Turkish women who were in attendance at the United Nations European Economic Meeting. The nine women entrepreneurs representing Turkey felt that there was no overarching organization representing Turkish women entrepreneurs. Meltem KURTSAN, upon her return to Turkey, brought the idea of forming an association for Turkish women entrepreneurs to the attention of the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TUSIAD). KAGIDER was formed on 12 September 2002 with the support of TUSIAD.

KAGIDER aims not only to strengthen women economically, but also socially and politically. KAGIDER has adopted the mission “to support women entrepreneurship” because it believes that women entrepreneurs have a strong impact on reversing the trends of gender inequality and women’s economic exclusion.

In partnership with national and international public, private and civil organizations KAGIDER has developed and continue to work on several projects and activities. KAGIDER with a portfolio of 300 members is engaged in training, counselling and providing mentorship activities towards economically empowering and strengthening women entrepreneurs. KAGIDER advocates for equal opportunities for men and women based on following 8 strategies to conduct concerned activities

1-Increase the number of women in the business world and promote women entrepreneurs
2-Provide trainings and mentoring to women in entering the business world and becoming an entrepreneur
3-Spread the impacts of KAGIDER’s activities across Turkey
4-Support the legal base for the development of an ecosystem for women entrepreneurship while providing a road map for financial access
5-Support KAGIDER members in growing their businesses
6-Encourage and support young women in their entry into the business and entrepreneurial world while continuing their education
7-Raising awareness about KAGIDER
8-Become a reference point for supporting women entrepreneurship and developing the content and technological activities in women’s careers at the national and international level.

KAGIDER has been represented by several “woman entrepreneurs” so far, namely Meltem Kurtsan (2002-2007), Gülseren Onanç (2007-2010), Dilek Bil (2011) and Gülden Türktan (2011-2015). Sanem OKTAR has been serving as the president since early 2015.

Since its establishment KAGIDER has been involved in a number of projects and activities in the public, private and civil society sectors aimed at providing trainings and mentoring to women entrepreneurs as well as those who are looking to start their own businesses. In addition, it has focused on bringing “women entrepreneur role models” to the forefront and readying young women for the business world and developing their entrepreneurial skills. Some projects accomplished by KAGIDER are inserted below:

Equal Opportunities Model (FEM), A Gender Equality Certification Women Leaders of the Future Project KAGIDER’s Compass Project KAGIDER’S SOMA PROJECT WeConnect Supplier Diversity Project Women Entrepreneurs Associations Portal Turkey’s Woman Entrepreneur Competition WOMEN 20 (W20) Young Ideas for Empowering Women Women Entrepreneurship, A job creation engine for South East Europe Project Balkan Women Coalition (2012 – 2014) European Network of Mentors for Women Entrepreneurs (2011 – 2013) Invest For the Future – IFTF; Women Driving Economic Force Conference (2011-2013) Girls in Kars Move Ahead (2010 – 2011) WE – Mentor Project (2007-2008) The Women’s Fund (2004 – 2008) Bridge From Women To Women (2005 – 2007) Women Entrepreneurs Development Centre (KAGIMER – 2005) Women’s Way to Europe (2006-2007) Water Drop Project (2005 – 2006)

All along this journey KAGIDER has thankfully enjoyed the full support of establishments such as Zorlu, Vodafone, Garanti, Accenture, Fundacion Altadis, Deloitte, Dünya Bankası, EY, Intel, KPMG, Pwci SANOFI, UPS, Sabancı Üniveersitesi, Soma Belediyesi (Municipality)



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