The Opening Event, which took place at Kaya İzmir Thermal & Convention Hotel on October 26, 2021, was kicked off with opening speeches of Prof. Dr. Metin Tanoğlu, Teknopark İzmir General Manager; Gönül Kamalı, Chairman of the Board of the Software Manufacturers Association (YASAD); Levent Arslan, KOSGEB İzmir Manager; and Prof. Dr. Yusuf Baran, Rector of İzmir Institute of Technology (İYTE).

Gönül Kamalı, a partner of the project, noted on behalf of YASAD “The power of the ecosystem, the power of technology is essential to the peace and prosperity of our country. Today we are starting to produce and commercialize the technologies of the future in our innovation center. I believe we are marking an inspiring milestone today.” As a representative of KOSGEB, an institution that supports authorized entrepreneurs and R&D project owners in the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, Levent Arslan highlighted in his speech that, the project will fill an important gap with regards to commercialization of the products. Prof. Dr. Yusuf Baran stated that, “We, as parts of the entire ecosystem of 9 universities, 20,000 scientists, 168,000 students, 6 Technoparks, Technology Transfer Offices and valuable entrepreneurs, stakeholders; can make İzmir a new role model among cities. We can start a new process in İzmir based on science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. With the Izmir NIC project, which we have launched in today’s gathering, we are taking the first steps of a journey, where ideas of 1500 entrepreneurs turn into products that are to be commercialized, branded and internationalized.

The programme went on with the presentation of Prof. Dr. Metin Tanoğlu, General Manager of Teknopark İzmir, the Senior Representative of İzmir NIC Project. Emphasizing the need to increase the rate of high-tech product production in the region, Tanoğlu stated that as a Teknopark, they are happy to contribute to the projects of startups, SMEs and entrepreneurs, under favour of projects such as İzmir NIC.

At the Opening Event, the Accelerate İzmir Programme, the newest growth-oriented acceleration programme of İzmir, was also introduced. Miray Şanlı Taşkın, İzmir NIC Project Coordinator informed the attendees on the details and scopes of the project. She further stated that they aim to enhance the ecosystem in İzmir with their project and that they aim to create an environment to enable “Unicorns” to break through in İzmir.

The event continued with the presentation on the Accelerate İzmir Programme, which was delivered by David Tee, Team Leader of the Technical Support Team. Tee stated that the programme is focusing on scaling, creating a strong business plan, and designing measurable processes. He gave further information on the coaching, commercialization roadmap and mentoring services to be provided for the participant companies. In his concluding remarks, Tee announced that the first call for Accelerate İzmir Programme will be opened on November 1, 2021.

Following the presentations, a panel titled “Developing a Successful Innovation Ecosystem in İzmir” was held under the moderation of Dr. A. Mete Çakmakçı, Secretary General, TTGV (Turkish Technology Development Foundation). The speakers at the panel included Gönül Kamalı, Chairman of the Board, YASAD; Sinem Toktay, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Policies Unit Head, İzmir Development Agency (İZKA); Dr. Deniz Tunçalp, Management Engineering Department Lecturer Assoc, Istanbul Technical University; and Alper Kalaycı, Chairman of the Board, Energy Industrialists and Businessmen Association (ENSİA).

At the panel, Gönül Kamalı stated that İzmir can become more competitive by taking into account its share in the Turkish industry. She further noted that İzmir is a city with the potential to provide all kinds of opportunities. Deniz Tunçalp, emphasizing the importance of İzmir in the commercial history, stated that, examining the relations and ecosystem in İzmir on an academic and theoretical basis gives him great excitement. Stating that one of Turkey’s biggest problems is brain drain, Tunçalp said that it is important to aim to create an ecosystem where world-renowned companies can invest in order to reverse this situation. Alper Kalaycı, on the other hand, highlighted that with the growth of the Renewable Energy sector, consumer-oriented, location-independent projects can be developed much faster than the traditional, old-style energy investments. Emphasizing that the greatest advantage of renewable energy is that it can be produced where it is consumed, Kalaycı further stated that agreements and processes such as the Paris Agreement, the Zero Carbon Target, and the Green Agreement will increase the need for renewable energy. In her speech, Sinem Toktay stressed the importance of integration of renewable energy and information technologies for the goal of a “Sustainable Izmir”. “We see great potential in the field of wind energy and renewable energy equipment production. if the local RE sector is integrated with software technologies, the potential of Izmir will increase.”

İzmir NIC – İzmir Network and Innovation Centre Project

İzmir Network and Innovation Centre (İzmir NIC) Project, is implemented by Teknopark İzmir within the scope of the Ministry of Industry and Technology Competitive Sectors Programme, realised with the financial support of the European Union and the Republic of Turkey.

The project, implemented with partners İzmir Institute of Technology (İYTE) and the Software Industrialists Association (YASAD), will run for 3 years with a budget of 3 million Euros.

The İzmir NIC project’s purpose is to enhance the commercialisation and internationalisation of innovative products, by fostering networks and strategic partnership among relevant stakeholders.



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