Turkish gov't encourages business world to support new tech startups

As Turkey has embarked on a journey seeking to establish its own "unicorns" – privately held startups valued at over $1 billion – as part of its new strategy, it will be offering various incentives and will be encouraging the business world and professional managers to support new technology companies. Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank last week unveiled Turkey's industry and technology strategy for 2023, a road map that will help the country become competitive in critical technologies and make it an important player in the global league. On this path, it aims to have unicorns of its own established within the country. "We even want them to be called Turcorns," Varank had said. Turkey aims to have 10 such "Turcorns" by 2023, the nation's centennial.

The minister had said worldwide, the number of unicorns totals around 300.

The strategy highlights the steps that will increase Turkey's competitiveness, strengthen economic and technological independence, and enhance the value-added production in the industry, also covering policies for providing incentives and support for the development of the high-tech entrepreneurial ecosystem.

To progress toward its Turcorn goal, the government will support the early stage startups and will identify and provide the Turkish startups with global claims with a support necessary for them to scale, according to information compiled by Anadolu Agency (AA).

On the other hand, academics will also be provided support for productizing the technology they have developed and then establishing a company.

By encouraging businesspeople and professional managers to support new technology companies, the number of angel investors will be increased, and the use of mass funding will be expanded.

Arrangements will be made to ensure that angel investors are not limited to funding and to transfer experience and provide active consultancy to entrepreneurs.

Steps will be taken to increase the size and efficiency of venture capital investment funds.

Promotional and information activities for local fund investors will be carried out, while guiding regulations will be implemented for international fund investors to invest in them.

Startups will be followed in the transition from the initial phase to the scaling phase. At this point, in particular, deep technology-based startups that achieve globalization will be positively discriminated in favor of.

Simplified practices such as the "tax-free period" for the initial period of new startups and the "easy-tax period" for the first development period will be realized.

Mechanisms such as welcome packages and entrepreneur visas will be offered to entrepreneurs from abroad, and easy work permits will be provided in this regard.

In the entrepreneurship support mechanisms, arrangements will be made to take into account the evaluations of respected organizations that support entrepreneurs in the international arena.

A "fund of funds" structure that invests in venture capital funds will be established, and continuous feeding of venture capital funds will be ensured.

It is envisaged that the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) and the Ministry of Treasury and Finance will allocate funds to the funds under the "Tech-InvesTR Venture Capital Support Program."

As a result of initial assessments, the Ministry of Treasury and Finance will earmark at least TL 400 million to five venture capital funds.

The funds to be established are expected to reach a total fund size of TL 630 million in the first closing and TL 1.1 billion in the last closing and to invest in approximately 150 technology-based early-stage startups.

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