|Opening of a woman-owned enterprise: GAP-GIDEM helped Ms. Perihan Bozdat, a woman |
entrepreneur in Sanliurfa to establish Peri Cosmetics, one of the very few woman-owned enterprises
in the GAP region. Pictured are Ms. Bozdag and Ovunc Birecik (GIDEM expert in Sanliurfa)
What is the situation?
Throughout Turkey, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) face many difficulties - and specifically in Southeastern Anatolia, which is regarded as Turkey's least-developed region.
Problems faced by small and medium enterprises in this region include:
- Limited opportunities for capital accumulation
- Limited capacity for associational activity, management and women entrepreneurs
- Lack of links to and information about internal and external markets
Limited capital accumulation is one of the key issues hindering economic development by small and medium enterprises in southeastern Anatolia. Opportunities for external financing are limited. Turkey's bond and capital markets are not yet sufficiently mature to be a realistic option for SMEs. This means that the only formal option for external financing is bank loans. However, due to macro-economic conditions and a series of crises in the banking sector, opportunities for SMEs to obtain commercial loans at affordable interest rates are very limited. Severe interest rate fluctuations experienced in previous economic bank crises have also made many entrepreneurs wary of seeking loans.
The Government's ability to provide direct support to companies through incentives or subsidized credits is limited to some extent by international agreements such as the WTO agreement, and by the budgetary constraints. Public banks do still extend subsidized loans to SMEs; however the size of these loans is quite limited. Furthermore, the uptake of these loans by SMEs in southeastern Anatolia remains minimal due to strict collateral requirements. Centralized application of incentive schemes are a further deterrent in that such schemes make little differentiation between the least and less developed regions.
Limited capacity. SMEs in southeastern Anatolia are additionally hindered by their limited capacity in terms of entrepreneurship, operational and financial management. This places them at a disadvantage compared with similar sized businesses in the more prosperous western regions of Turkey. Associational activity is relatively weak among the SME community in southeastern Anatolia and networking required for access to both markets and capital is very limited. Entrepreneurship among women is severely limited, and virtually non-existent across many parts of the region.
Limited exploitation of potential internal and external markets. While Southeastern Anatolia has strong trade potential with neighboring countries (Syria, Iraq) the prevailing external trade policy environment does not necessarily prioritize the Southeastern Anatolian enterprises for external trade promotion. Actual opportunities for external trade are reduced by insufficient industrial infrastructure and instable business environment in the Middle East.
Access of SMEs from southeastern Anatolia to other foreign markets is restricted because manufacturing practices are not fully aligned to EU or other international standards. Most SME sector policies and practices in the region do not yet incorporate environmental concerns.
What is our mission?
The long-term vision is to improve the competitiveness of southeastern Anatolia in national and international markets. Our mission with the GIDEM programme is to improve the entrepreneurial, operational and managerial capacities of existing entrepreneurs, small, medium and micro-enterprises by providing information, training and advisory services.
How are we doing this?
UNDP has established GIDEM offices in the four provincial capitals of the GAP region: Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Mardin and Sanliurfa. In addition, we have set up a central project coordination and management unit at the headquarters of our Turkish counterpart, the GAP Regional Development Administration. (GAP - in English, the Southeast Anatolia Project, started in 1977, with the support of UNDP).
The local GIDEM offices provide a wide range of business development services including training , information services and consultancy . GIDEM offices can also develop and implement larger-scale projects called "opportunity windows" .
Training services are currently provided free of charge and no reservation is needed. They are available as planned activities, some of which can also be provided on demand.
Topics covered by GIDEM training services include:
- Trade and Investment
- New trends in business
- Quality, standards and environment
- Sector-specific capacity improvement
Information services are also provided free of charge by GIDEM offices. Some constitute planned information - such as publications on sectoral or foreign market analyses.
Other information services are provided on-demand on a daily basis. Entrepreneurs and businessmen can consult GIDEM offices for information on various aspects of business. If the information requested is available, it will be provided instantly. Otherwise GIDEM experts will carry out whatever research is necessary and pass it on to the client as soon as possible.
Consultancy services are provided by GIDEM offices on-demand. Consultancy services complement GIDEM's information services and usually include more in-depth analysis. These services can include preparation of pre-feasibility studies and business plans. Since consultancy services are more time-consuming GIDEM experts are more selective in their provision and work with clients who can offer a firm commitment.