Becoming a first-time entrepreneur can be a very challenging task. In particular, if you are young and have a degree from a reputable university, multi-national companies try endlessly to lure you in, although their ultimate target is not to train up gifted or skilled entrepreneurs but efficient marketing staff.
A majority of Turkish parents prefer to walk the traditional path as they expect and encourage their children to take up long-established professions - become a physician, an engineer or a lawyer - instead of setting up a business, which often comes with many pitfalls.
What is important for young entrepreneurs is that early start-ups need to gather experience for the long-term, while finding the right investment to earn more intellectual property. The key to every successful venture is patience. Persistence has played a major role behind each and every global venture that is worth a billion dollars.
The next step is to find a mentor. As families and institutions mostly encourage young people to go after managerial positions instead of following their entrepreneurial spirit, it can be very difficult for most entrepreneurs to get the opportunity to work with a mentor. Thus, many entrepreneurs in Turkey have difficulties determining the step when it comes to future projects.
For aspiring entrepreneurs, top executives of a few Turkish telecom companies and banks came up with some suggestions, like which sectors had exciting prospects and which might bring future profits, during our talks that will continue with state institutions and municipalities next week.
The year of AI
This year, municipalities, telecom companies and consumer electronics producers will increase investments in artificial intelligence (AI) technologies; education institutions are likely to demand content with virtual and augmented reality, while retail, telecom, health and judicial institutions will be more into big data analysis.
2017 is expected to provide opportunities for entrepreneurs that can easily adapt to new technology trends, as more investments will be shaped around projects on AI, big data, virtual and augmented reality.
A new venture ecosystem
Turkey's leading telecommunications company, Türk Telekom, recently announced good news for entrepreneurs, when Fırat Yaman Er, Deputy General Manager of Türk Telekom's strategy, business development and business planning, said: "We will be supporting new entrepreneur with a pilot program, which will accelerate first ventures."
The program will widen its focus and offer new opportunities to entrepreneurs. To bring all ventures and stakeholders under the same roof, a new center will be set up in Istanbul.
"With this new center, we plan to offer new opportunities to entrepreneurs who are the first link in the chain and offer a chance to make new relationships. Moreover, we will take advanced ventures which are funded into our focus point as well and evaluate them. To support a venture ecosystem and academic innovation, universities will also be prioritized," he said. For Türk Telekom, AI and big data will lead the year in 2017.
Fintech entrepreneurs on the front
Didem Dinçer Başer, deputy manager of Garanti Bank, said there were four technology trends that her organization will follow closely.
"We will be following Fintech entrepreneurs working in certain fields, such as the AI. I believe biometry will be a trend this year, and holistic solutions answering the needs of different customer groups will be important. The last one will be smart services that offer investment guidance in a digital environment," she said.
The way we do business in payment systems will change
Soner Canko, the CEO at BKM, said they believed the much-talked about Internet of Things (IoT), wearable technology, biometry and big data will offer significant opportunities to the Fintech ecosystem.
"Thanks to these technologies, various new business models in several fields, including the finance and digital payments sector, will be introduced," he said.
Canko said Chatbot and virtual assistants were already making a huge impact around and will be more common in the future. The number of personalized services, products and campaigns will increase in the finance sector; once the sector is introduced to AI that will complete these technologies.
"Once the number of apps and their influence increases, we will be able to see the effects of these technologies that have the potential to bring more evident changes to client experience. API banking and Blockchain should also be monitored closely. These technologies will enable offering new services, which we end users are not yet familiar with. As BKM, we are conducting R&D work in all these fields and will continue to do research in their areas of application," he concluded.