Name: Semira Özbas
Business: Organic Market
Cohort: 2nd Cohort, Mersin
Home Country: Turkey
Growing up in Mersin, Turkey, Semira Özbaş began her career managing a furniture shop after graduating university with a degree in Sociology. However, Semira had other goals in mind for her future, namely using her studies in sociology to become an entrepreneur with her sister.
Semira first heard about the LIFE Project through her sister who works as an employee in the municipality. “My journey with the LIFE Project was very good,” Semira reflected, “I always wanted to enter the food sector but never knew how. The LIFE Project offered a me very nice start. The training [allowed me to] approach my goals with steady steps, joining was very positive for me.”
Now, Semira and her sister are developing a business concept focused on producing packaged foods made entirely from organic materials. “In Mersin, when we think ‘organic’ we are faced with very basic products such as organic cheese or organic milk. My sister and I want to start a market business where you would enter and have access to everything as if you had gone to a normal market, but all the products are organic.”
Semira and her sister also envision their market to be a communal space, catering to women with diverse backgrounds. For the two sisters, “she can be a Turkish mom who had retired, she can be a Syrian refugee, all women will have access to supplies of which they can cook and come up with an organic product such as organic marmalade.”
Next steps for the duo include a focus on market studies, especially suppliers, and applying for a bank loan to gather enough startup capital to make their dream a reality. After that, Semira and her sister look forward to moving into the agricultural space and providing some of their own supplies to the market.
For Semira and her sister, the LIFE Project was about more than building hard business skills. “The best thing about joining the LIFE Project for me and for my sister is that while our business was just a fantasy, the LIFE Project gave us courage and tools to start. It was very significant for me to watch how in the beginning my sister would shy away from participation and, [through the LIFE Project] how her eyes slowly started shining. She became very enthusiastic and constructed a firm belief that we can actually start. We are both now braver people.”
Are you interested in Semira’s story or see potential in her business as an investor? Email the LIFE Project to be connected at firstname.lastname@example.org.