Türkiye Satellite EXPO fosters new partnerships for women-owned businesses and drives economic growth


More than 150 women entrepreneurs joined UN Women’s “Gender Responsive Economic Recovery” conference in earthquake-hit Hatay, Türkiye, to promote women’s leadership in economic recovery.  Photo: UN Women
More than 150 women entrepreneurs joined UN Women’s “Gender Responsive Economic Recovery” conference in earthquake-hit Hatay, Türkiye, to promote women’s leadership in economic recovery. Photo: UN Women

More than 150 women entrepreneurs, representatives from various private companies, public institutions and investors came together at the “Gender Responsive Economic Recovery: Growing the Economy with Women’s Businesses!” conference, organized on November 21, 2023, by UN Women Türkiye, KAGIDER - Women Entrepreneurs Association of Türkiye, and Hepsiburada – a Turkish e-commerce company in Hatay, Türkiye, as part of the Regional Women’s Entrepreneurship EXPO 2023. Held at the Hatay Metropolitan Municipality Co-Working Space Expo Center, the event aimed to support women entrepreneurs and women's cooperatives in overcoming the effects of the earthquake and participating in economic life.

“Sustainable recovery in the earthquake-affected region can only be realized through full and equal participation of women, including entrepreneurs, in the economy. The aim of today's event is to equip earthquake-affected women entrepreneurs and cooperatives with practical knowledge and skills on support mechanisms they can use immediately to restart their businesses and fuel them with the power of e-commerce,” said Asya Varbanova, UN Women Türkiye Country Director. Varbanova also reiterated that UN Women Türkiye is calling for business development, supply chain and marketing practices that empower women in line with the Women's Empowerment Principles.

Esra Bezircioğlu, the president of KAGIDER, stated that women have important responsibilities in the recovery process and revitalizing local economy. “Success cannot be achieved without including the dynamism and potential of women in the process. If women entrepreneurship and employment recover in the region, the economy will recover. If women stand up, the economy will also stand up. In this respect, this event that brings us together is very important. I believe it will play a strong role in the recovery of Hatay and the region. Moreover, important steps will be taken to support women entrepreneurs and women's businesses and cooperatives here,” declared Esra Bezircioğlu, highlighting that the connections that will be made and the agreements that will be reached during the event will make a strong contribution to the revitalization of the regional economy.

Nilhan Onal Gökçetekin, CEO of Hepsiburada, mentioned that their organization’s goal during this event is to create a long-term cooperation and development. “As Hepsiburada, we stand by the disaster area with all our strength. We continue our efforts that support production, trade, and entrepreneurship, especially our 'Trade and Technology Power to the Earthquake Region' programme, and serve recovery in the medium and long term,” affirmed Nilhan Onal Gökçetekin.

In this context, Hepsiburada has launched a follow-up programme focusing on gender-responsive economy. The programme, launched in cooperation with UN Women Türkiye and KAGIDER, aims to support women's businesses affected by the disaster in Hatay. Specifically, the programme will help women entrepreneurs, producers and small and medium-sized enterprises overcome the effects of the earthquake. “As Türkiye's Hepsiburada, we will continue to support women entrepreneurship and increase the number of women entrepreneurs we support to 120,000 by 2030,” concluded the CEO of Hepsiburada.

The conference also featured an interactive session on how to prepare your brand for e-commerce, and the participants enhanced their knowledge on marketing, branding, online presence, and online sales. In addition to the supportive organizations active in the region, Şekerbank, Halkbank, Denizbank, Yapı Kredi Bank and Türkiye İş Bankası also participated in the programme to facilitate women's access to finance in the earthquake zone.

Following the event, UN Women Türkiye, Hepsiburada and KAGIDER are planning to launch a purchasing programme to support women-owned businesses in the region. Thus, special productions will be made on March 8, International Women's Day, and commercial collaborations with national businesses and institutions will be realized.

Moreover, women producers and entrepreneurs in the region will increase their commercial business volume with special day gift packages. Women entrepreneurs and women's cooperatives participating in the event will also be able to register free of charge to the 'Women of Trade' platforms where they can benefit from the mentoring network of Hepsiburada and KAGIDER.

Since 2021, this event, which took place in Hatay, was organized within the scope of the “Enhancing Women's Leadership and Gender Equality in Politics and Business” project, financed by Sweden through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

Launched in 2021, the Women’s Entrepreneurship EXPO is a unique partnership platform to promote women’s entrepreneurship ecosystem building in the Europe and Central Asia region. EXPO provides an interactive space for women entrepreneurs, investors and private sector representatives for networking and collaboration, peer learning, ideas generation, capacity building and business development. EXPO 2023 is organized by UN Women Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia in partnership with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Yıldız Holding as part of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator supported by Mary Kay.