Syrian-owned SMEs Advance Sustainable Development Goals in Turkey
Building Markets’ network of over 2,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Turkey presents an opportunity to make significant contributions to the country’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In addition to being the main driver of job creation in economies around the world, SMEs advance progress towards the SDGs through their business practices; sectors of operation; and contributions to improving national competitiveness, according the International Trade Center (ITC). ITC’s analysis shows that “investments in SMEs can contribute to 60% of the 169 SDG targets.”
Despite this enormous potential, the global financing necessary to achieve the SDGs by 2030 has a gap of US$5-7 trillion annually. Local SMEs in developing countries and frontier markets have a particularly hard time attracting investments, due to their lack of visibility, limited availability of company data, perceived risks, and gaps in the companies’ networks and investment readiness. The good news is that these barriers can be overcome through partnerships between private sector investors and development finance institutions and intermediary organizations that are working closely with and supporting SMEs.
In Turkey, the UNDP has recently launched the SDG Investor Map, a guide to 27 investment opportunity areas identified across 9 priority sectors: Technology and Communications, Transportation, Renewables and Alternative Energy, Education, Healthcare, Food & Beverage, Consumer Goods, Infrastructure and Financials. This type of market intelligence is essential to inform private investors around potential investments and priorities. To fully unlock private capital for SDGs, however, the investors will also need access to company data to identify and develop deals.
Here are just a few examples from Building Markets’ network of companies that local and international investors looking to support Sustainable Development Goals should be considering, according to the investment opportunities detailed in UNDP’s SDG Investor Map. As an additional contribution to inclusive economic growth and reduced inequalities, the companies highlighted here are refugee-owned and/or refugee-employing, as are over 90% of Building Markets’ network in Turkey.
Building Markets encourages investors to inquire about partnership opportunities in order to ensure these and other high-potential companies – operating in education, e-commerce, PPE production, warehousing, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and more – can gain access to the right capital to grow and maximize their contributions to the Turkish economy.
In addition to the critical importance of digital learning, as demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic, the SDG Investor Map Turkey underlines the need for e-learning investments in order to facilitate access to education for the 1.6 million Syrian children of schooling age in Turkey.
This is where Fasih is poised to make significant impact. The company, founded by Hulud Halabi, a Syrian woman entrepreneur and educator, is a one-stop-shop that provides easy access to education for students in grades 1 to high school through a user-friendly e-learning platform. It is also an e-shopping center for all related products and services. The company serves 1,000 students and has recently been accepted to Arya Investor Readiness Accelerator in collaboration with Building Markets.
Investment Opportunity Area #11. Domestic Solar Energy Component Production
Turkey’s rapidly growing demand for energy will benefit greatly from increased solar energy production, which will also reduce greenhouse gasses. However, according to the SDG Investor Map Turkey, the country’s dependence on imported components is a barrier. Investments in domestic alternatives will add local economic value and jobs while making solar energy production systems more affordable.
Maxwatt Enerji (previously YeniUcgen), is a modern manufacturer and exporter that focuses on the design, research & development, and production of power inverters and solar panels. The company’s products include off-grid DC to AC power inverters, inverters with chargers, solar charger controllers, battery chargers, solar system and special power units, and solar and LED lighting products. Here is a look at the company’s local production facilities in Çerkezköy, Tekirdağ, which employ 14 people.
Investment Opportunity Area #16. Investing in hospitals/clinics to provide healthcare services for patients from medically underserved countries/regions.
Turkey’s health tourism sector, among the top ten countries globally, is expected to reach $10 billion in revenues in 2023 serving 1.5 million health tourists. Companies operating in this sector have the potential to increase access to quality healthcare services for underserved patients.
As a contributor to this sector, Oxygen Clinic is a hospital in Istanbul and a trusted name for medical tourism, hair transplantation, skincare, and dentistry. Each year they perform thousands of consultations and procedures. Founded in 2019 by a Syrian refugee entrepreneur, Oxygen is dedicated to ensuring every client is connected to expert surgeons for the health services they require and holds
Investment Opportunity Area #18. Investing in beekeeping products and services to increase their value added in the health and cosmetics value chains
According to the SDG Investor Map Turkey, this is an investment area that has returns for small businesses and the workforce in beekeeping; consumers who need access to quality nutrition, cosmetic, and medicinal products; and for biodiversity, agriculture, and food security more broadly given the critical role of pollinators in food production.
Seyhoglu Honey has been contributing to Turkey’s beekeeping and honey production since 2018. Founded by Kemal Seyhoglu, bringing to bear the company’s 22-year experience in Syria, the company now employs nine people. Seyhoglu produces and sells natural healing products made from bees, including honey and other medicinal herbs, and is in the process of increasing its e-commerce revenues in partnership with Building Markets.
This blog post was written by Selen Ucak.