Meet the Members: Ahmet, a Turkish Health Food Entrepreneur

Meet the Members: Ahmet, a Turkish Health Food Entrepreneur

Although he enrolled in an entrepreneurship executive training course while in university, Ahmet truly built the skills he viewed as crucial for his success when he started mountain climbing as a sport. “It added a lot to my creativity and capacity when it comes to entrepreneurship…In this period I did a lot of personal development and learned how to survive with very little resources.” When deciding what to produce as an entrepreneur, Ahmet settled on the food sector because he wanted to produce something that is healthy, “there is nothing more beneficial and healthier for people than healthy food.” 

Meet the Members: Ammar, a Syrian Food Expert and Entrepreneur

Meet the Members: Ammar, a Syrian Food Expert and Entrepreneur

Ammar’s dream project is starting a food business focused on desserts and smoothies. He even already has a name for it: PH7 or ‘Pleasure of Heaven’. Since deciding on his initial idea, Ammar has been looking to rent a small restaurant in the Fatih neighborhood of Istanbul to start his business and is looking for business partners to promote his product and fund his start-up costs. 

Democracy That Delivers #161: Women and Refugees in the LIFE Project

Democracy That Delivers #161: Women and Refugees in the LIFE Project

From Consortium lead The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)

In this episode, Barbara Langley, Director of CIPE’s Center for Women’s Economic Empowerment, and Marie Principe, Program Officer for MENA, recount stories of impact from the LIFE Project. They discuss how through the LIFE Project, the members, particularly the women, build confidence in public speaking and advocating for their product and themselves, and how they also build a sense of community with other women from different backgrounds.

Fostering Entrepreneurship is Critical to Refugees’ Economic and Social Integration

Fostering Entrepreneurship is Critical to Refugees’ Economic and Social Integration

From Consortium Lead The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)

On World Refugee Day, CIPE celebrates refugee entrepreneurs for their contribution to the development of entrepreneurship ecosystems and the expansion of economic opportunity for all in host countries. Refugee entrepreneurship supports sustainable livelihoods and resilience among refugee and host communities, while fostering social cohesion and offering a win-win scenario both for the socio-economic situation of the host country and the refugees themselves.

When Failure is Not an Option: Understanding – And Accelerating – the Success of Refugee Entrepreneurs

When Failure is Not an Option: Understanding – And Accelerating – the Success of Refugee Entrepreneurs

From Consortium Partner The William Davidson Institute (WDI) at the University of Michigan

Starting a business is a challenge for anybody, and business failure rates are high. How do refugees — faced with the additional challenges of being new to a country and often not speaking the language — manage to establish successful enterprises? It turns out that along with their unique challenges, they also bring some unique assets to the table. These attributes can both position them for success and enable them to enrich their host nation.

Meet the Members: Shaker, an Academic-Turned-Entrepreneur Rebuilding his Syrian Business in Turkey

Meet the Members: Shaker, an Academic-Turned-Entrepreneur Rebuilding his Syrian Business in Turkey

Shaker always likes to introduce himself by highlighting his impressive academic background, as he holds a PhD in Sharia Law and a Master’s degree in Child’s Rights. Shaker has travelled extensively in Europe and Africa, worked in universities, and managed schools. “At one point, I realized that I couldn’t make a living with my academic job, so we opened a sweet shop in Syria.” The business focused on mamul, a traditional Middle Eastern pastry filled with a variety of stuffings. Shaker’s mamul had a unique twist - instead of the traditional nuts and dates, his pastries were filled with cheese.

Meet the Members: Waad, a Food Entrepreneur with a Creative Take on a Hometown Specialty

Meet the Members: Waad, a Food Entrepreneur with a Creative Take on a Hometown Specialty

Waad was a teacher for 14 years in Palmyra, Syria. “Palmyra is very famous for dates which are filled with other ingredients and sold to tourists.” In 2016, she fled the country and settled in Mersin, where she had siblings. She was always actively looking for opportunities to learn the Turkish language and develop her skills, which is how she came to learn of the LIFE Project.

As a creative chef in homemade desserts, Waad was initially interested in the LIFE Project to build her marketing skills.“The business pitch competition itself was a very big step for me to take; it developed my character and allowed me a chance to meet people.”

Meet the Members: Saleh, a Syrian Restaurateur Entering Turkey’s Sweets Industry

Meet the Members: Saleh, a Syrian Restaurateur Entering Turkey’s Sweets Industry

Saleh is a food entrepreneur from Deir ez-Zor, Syria. After graduating from the Technical Institute for Tourism and Hotel Sciences in Syria, he worked in Sham Palace and other hotels for twelve years. Almost four years before the outbreak of the Syrian conflict, Saleh opened his own restaurant for pizza and sweets along with all kinds of juices.

Forced to leave his home country, Saleh moved to Turkey in 2016. “I came straight to Mersin as I had friends before me settling here and their feedback in general was always positive about this city. I [then] worked in restaurants in Mersin.” As Saleh realized that the market demand in Mersin focused more on delivery services than restaurants, he transitioned to Turkish sweet shops.

Meet the Members: Zeinab, Bringing a Family Legacy from Syria to Turkey

Meet the Members: Zeinab, Bringing a Family Legacy from Syria to Turkey

Originally from Latakia, Syria, Zeinab studied fine arts and taught painting. Her father and uncle were well known Attars, people who extract natural essence from flowers and plants for health benefits. As a child, she was fascinated by how her father extracted flower essence: “We had a garden with lemon trees and we would gather the flowers of the lemon tree together to extract the essence [...] After he passed away, I carried on and started first distributing bottles of plant extracts in his honor, as he would have done if he was alive.

Pitch Perfect: Five Tips for Designing Effective Business Pitch Competitions for International Entrepreneurs

Pitch Perfect: Five Tips for Designing Effective Business Pitch Competitions for International Entrepreneurs

From Consortium Partner The William Davidson Institute (WDI) at the University of Michigan

Pitch competitions can be an invaluable component of entrepreneurship development programs. Preparing for a final pitch competition can keep participants motivated throughout the program as they work towards presenting their businesses to an engaged audience. While pitch competitions offer a clear benefit to winners — such as cash prizes, investments and consultancy services — benefits also accrue to those not selected for an award.

Democracy That Delivers #142: Cooking Up a New LIFE – The Power of Food Entrepreneurship to Rebuild Lives Affected by the Global Refugee Crisis

Democracy That Delivers #142: Cooking Up a New LIFE – The Power of Food Entrepreneurship to Rebuild Lives Affected by the Global Refugee Crisis

From Consortium Lead The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)

Joan Nathan, Cookbook Author and Advisory Council member of LIFE Project, and Johanna Mendelson Forman, PhD, Distinguished Fellow at the Henry L. Stimson Center and CIPE’s Consortium partner on the LIFE Project, join co-host Stephen Rosenlund and host Ken Jaques to discuss how the LIFE Food Enterprise Center (FEC) is building food businesses and creating sustainable livelihoods in Turkey. These efforts have transformative effects for refugees and their host communities by building relationships through food.

Democracy that Delivers #130: Anniversary of LIFE Project with Partner Union Kitchen

Democracy that Delivers #130: Anniversary of LIFE Project with Partner Union Kitchen

From Consortium Lead The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)

In this episode of Democracy that Delivers, Marie Principe, CIPE Program Officer for MENA and head of the Livelihood Innovations through Food Entrepreneurship (LIFE) Project, is joined by Andrew Varnum, Executive Vice President of DC-based food accelerator Union Kitchen, as LIFE celebrates its one-year anniversary. The LIFE Project in Turkey supports sustainable livelihoods in the food sector through an entrepreneurship incubation experience and workforce training program for refugees and the host communities.

Meet the Members: Inam, Sharing her Culture and Building a Livelihood through Traditional Foods

Meet the Members: Inam, Sharing her Culture and Building a Livelihood through Traditional Foods

Before she learned about LIFE, Inam had already decided to take her cuisine to the local farmers’ market.

“I had been at the market for only five days, selling my Syrian style falafel from a two-meter-long table. Everyone came over to try it; they came back for seconds.”

Meet the Members: Fatma, a Yemeni Baker in Istanbul

Meet the Members: Fatma, a Yemeni Baker in Istanbul

“The LIFE Project mentors me and gives me direction,” she explained from the LIFE Food Enterprise Center in Istanbul.

Fatma joined the inaugural cohort of entrepreneurs for four months of incubation, during which she got a crash course in food entrepreneurship and navigating the regulatory environment in Turkey.

LIFE Project Puts Syrian Refugees and Host Community on Path to Success in Turkey’s Food Industry

LIFE Project Puts Syrian Refugees and Host Community on Path to Success in Turkey’s Food Industry

From Consortium Lead The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)

Amidst refugee challenges in Turkey and around the world, the Livelihoods Innovation through Food Entrepreneurship (LIFE) project provides solutions. The LIFE project helps refugees and host communities create businesses and jobs, while using food to foster social cohesion. The LIFE project, which is geared towards Turkish and Syrian communities alike, operates two business incubators at Food Enterprise Centers in Istanbul and Mersin. 

A Recipe for Understanding: How Food Entrepreneurship and Gastrodiplomacy are Bringing Syrian Refugees and Turks Closer

A Recipe for Understanding: How Food Entrepreneurship and Gastrodiplomacy are Bringing Syrian Refugees and Turks Closer

From Consortium Partner The William Davidson Institute (WDI) at the University of Michigan

In Istanbul, Mohamad Bakkar, a Syrian refugee and now food entrepreneur, (pictured right) produces his own special Syrian cheeses and yogurt. About three and a half years ago, Bakkar fled the civil war in Syria, where he was an electrical engineer. As a refugee in a new place, life was not easy. To improve his family’s situation, Bakkar opened his own food business in Istanbul. 

The LIFE Project, Serving up Economic Opportunities in the Food Sector

The LIFE Project, Serving up Economic Opportunities in the Food Sector

From Consortium Lead The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)

The food industry has become a major pathway for Syrians who are looking for economic and social integration in Turkey. For this reason, CIPE and a consortium of partners recently launched the Livelihoods Innovation through Food Entrepreneurship (LIFE) project. The two-year project will establish two self-sustaining food business incubators in Istanbul and Mersin, geared towards Turkish and Syrian communities alike.

WDI Partnering to Lift Refugees Through Food Entrepreneurship

WDI Partnering to Lift Refugees Through Food Entrepreneurship

From Consortium Partner The William Davidson Institute (WDI) at the University of Michigan

Two WDI representatives traveled to Turkey earlier this month as part of the Institute’s work on a project, led by the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), that aims to develop sustainable livelihoods in the food sector for Syrian refugees and their host communities.