Our Impact: Building Markets' Emergency Response in Türkiye - Building Markets

Our Impact: Building Markets’ Emergency Response in Türkiye

by Radha Rajkotia
April 26, 2023

Emergency Relief Fund update from Building Markets' CEO:

Nearly three months ago, we woke up to devastating news: a series of powerful earthquakes had struck Türkiye and Syria, killing more than 57,000 people. Those who survived, many already refugees of the war in Syria, were left in need of urgent assistance. At the epicenter in south east Türkiye, there are 1,400 small businesses – almost half of our small business network.

Our team was safe and accounted for, but some felt the loss of home and family. This was a tragedy that was both personally and professionally devastating. I have been enormously proud of the work that the team has done to spring into action, identifying ways to not only address the impacts on our business network directly, but also support them in playing a critical role in the earthquake response efforts.

Within two weeks they spoke to more than 800 small business owners living in the affected areas to better understand how to help. Using that information, and powered by your generosity, we have been able to provide free workspaces to those whose business spaces are too damaged to be operational and direct cash assistance to small businesses for infrastructure repairs and employee support. And because small businesses are up and running during this time of need, we’re seeing how collaborative projects to help the whole community, like food relief, are possible too.

Below is a summary of the impact we have achieved through the Emergency Relief Fund to date and we are far from done. In the coming months, we are doubling down on helping affected households to move from relief to recovery. We are providing technical assistance to businesses so that they may adapt their business services to a post-earthquake market environment, offering new opportunities for financial capital so that they can make the investments necessary to adapt to the new environment.

1. Assessing Local Needs

The earthquakes have left a lasting impact on many small business owners, their families, and their communities. Building Markets led a Rapid Needs Assessment to direct our response, engaging in 862 interviews with small business owners in our network. Read the full report below to learn what business owners report as their greatest needs, and how NGOs and donors can help.

2. Food Relief

In the weeks following the earthquakes, people who were displaced and living in makeshift housing had limited or no access to regular meals. Building Markets set up a mobile kitchen in Hatay that has been instrumental in feeding the community. Over 142k hot meals have been served to earthquake survivors to date. Through strategic partnerships with organizations like World Central Kitchen and the International Restaurant Association, Building Markets and local restaurants in our network came together to help provide immediate relief in the wake of the disaster.

food relief for earthquake victims in Türkiye

3. Cash Transfers

Through its Emergency Relief Fund and in partnership with organizations like Give Directly, Building Markets is providing cash relief to more than 1000 people whose livelihoods have been disrupted or destabilized by the earthquake. These cash transfers, equivalent to about one month of minimum wage income in Türkiye, will help individuals and business owners meet their basic needs and support economic recovery.

Cash transfers preserve dignity and respect, especially crucial for those undergoing extreme changes out of their control. Building Markets knows that these funds are coming at an important juncture, when many may be making hard decisions about moving or facing the possibility of shuttering their businesses. This is why it’s so important to get cash into the hands of survivors: so they can pay their rent, order new products for their business, and feed their families.


Give Directly Partnership

4. Assisting Community Support

To help entrepreneurs who lost their office spaces get back to rebuilding, the Building Markets Gaziantep office has been transformed into a co-working space for small businesses in our network. This innovative solution will allow small businesses to remain operational despite damages, and to continue contributing to the local economy at a crucial point in their economic recovery.

Free small business co-working space available to entrepreneurs impacted by 2023 earthquakes


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