UNDP and Japan help women-led businesses weather the pandemic and build ties between refugees and host communities

Hatay, Izmir, Kayseri, 17 December 2021 - Women’s cooperatives and women entrepreneurs are receiving training, mentoring and consultancy support to strengthen and expand their businesses in a ten-day “business bootcamp” programme launched this week as part of the initiative implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Turkish Ministry of Industry and Technology with US$1.1 million funding from the Government of Japan.

Under the programme, 115 women including entrepreneurs and members of women’s cooperatives will receive four days of face-to-face training in Hatay, Izmir and Kayseri, followed by six days of online training and consultancy support. The three locations were chosen to involve both Syrian women under temporary protection and women entrepreneurs from Turkish host communities. Participation was open to applicants with solid business plans and aspirations to grow by expanding markets and professionalizing operations.

“Our support for women’s entrepreneurship has three main aims,” said UNDP Resident Representative Louisa Vinton, speaking online during the launch of the bootcamp on 13 December 2021. “To help small businesses weather the impact of the pandemic; to open up new opportunities for women in a context in which they are badly underrepresented; and to promote harmonious relations between refugees and host communities. We see all three efforts as contributing to the core mission of UNDP, ‘to leave no one behind.’”

“This initiative aims to increase women's participation in the workforce and their taking an active part in business life. I believe that women have a say in economic life in line with the changing labour market dynamics by ensuring their full and effective participation in the workforce,” said Ahmet Şimşek, Deputy General Director of Development Agencies at the Ministry of Industry and Technology. “Employing people or making them entrepreneurs helps build social cohesion. That is why we named this project ‘Business to Social Cohesion.’”

“We have partnered with UNDP and formulated a project aimed at developing the skills and self-confidence of both Syrian and Turkish women to enhance stability, resilience and peaceful co-existence while enhancing social interaction and cohesion between the two groups,” said Kazuhiro Suzuki, Ambassador of Japan to Turkey.

Topics covered in the bootcamp include entrepreneurship, idea generation, finance, commercialization, digital marketing and project management. One-on-one consultancy and mentoring sessions with guest experts will offer guidance in improving and launching business plans. Both physical and online sessions will provide opportunities for Syrians to network with their peers from Turkish host communities. At the end of the bootcamp, 45 participants will be selected to receive further tailored support in expanding their businesses.

At the same time, through a parallel initiative, 40 women’s cooperatives will receive needs-based business consultancy support to promote expansion and develop better sales outlets. To this end, a website will be developed to present an inventory of traditional and local products and guide potential buyers to manufacturers.

Supporting women’s cooperatives and women entrepreneurs is part of UNDP Turkey’s broader portfolio of projects, focusing on building the self-reliance of Syrian refugees and the resilience of host communities through expanding labour market access, improving livelihood opportunities, enhancing public services and building social cohesion. 


For more information:

Faik Uyanık, Head of Communications for UNDP in Turkey, faik.uyanik@undp.org

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