Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) President Rıfat Hisarcıklıoğlu attended a panel titled "Turkey's Economy and Entrepreneurship," which was part of the forum "Entrepreneurs: The Power of Future" jointly organized by the International Entrepreneurship Center, Female Entrepreneurs Council and Young Entrepreneurs Council of TOBB and sponsored by Turkey's leading GSM operator, Vodafone. During the panel, Hisarcıklıoğlu and Minister of Development Cevdet Yılmaz discussed the anticipated role of entrepreneurship in the Turkish economy in respect to the country's 2023 vision. Pointing to the importance of entrepreneurship for Turkey's economy, Hisarcıklıoğlu said that they encourage entrepreneurship not because it is fashionable, but rather for the enrichment of Turkey, adding, "As a country, we want to prosper and the only way to achieve this is with entrepreneurship. The more entrepreneurs you have, the richer you are. A country that wants to prosper should increase the number of its entrepreneurs." Hisarcıklıoğlu highlighted that even though Turkish society hailed from a cultural background that rejected entrepreneurship, this culture is gradually changing. "Entrepreneurship in Turkey was discovered after Turgut Özal's period," he said, defining courage as the indispensable core of entrepreneurship.
Pointing out that Turkey's female entrepreneurs have written a great success story, Hisarcıklıoğlu shared the following statistics regarding female entrepreneurs: "TOBB's Female Entrepreneurs Council is currently the largest platform of female entrepreneurs in Turkey, with 7,000 women in 81 cities. Previously, the number of female entrepreneurs in Turkey was 70,000 and our goal was to increase this figure. Although women constitute half of the population, their share in entrepreneurship was only 5 percent, which rose to 7 percent last year. They broke a great record this year, as 33 percent of new companies in 2014 were founded by women."
Emphasizing that entrepreneurship is also the solution to unemployment, Hisarcıklıoğlu continued, "There are 1.5 million businesses in Turkey, and the number of employees working at these businesses is 15 million. This means that each business provides employment for 10 people. Every year, 700,000 people enter this population of employment. So, every year we need to introduce at least 70,000 new entrepreneurs to find jobs for these people."
Hisarcıklıoğlu also stressed that Germany and Japan reached their current economic positions due to to their entrepreneurial systems. "The role of entrepreneurship is critical for Turkey to become one of the top 10 economies in the world," he added. Touching on his own entrepreneurial story, Hisarcıklıoğlu said that even though his father was not an entrepreneur, successful entrepreneurs grew up in his family. "I worked at a pharmacy during summer holidays when I was at elementary school, and I sold socks while I was studying at university," Hisarcıklıoğlu said, giving the following advice to entrepreneurs: "It is important to have a working principle. I adopted five principles in my business life. Honesty is the key to success; you should be honest if you want to win. Your expenses should always be less than your income. You should not rely on your memory alone in your business, but you should put your transactions down on paper. And one more thing, toleration is possible in friendship, but not possible in business." Following the panel discussion, Minister of Development Yılmaz was presented an award by the G3 Platform President Gülden Yılmaz due to his support for the forum and his entrepreneurship.