Small Business Tips and Tools

Why Aspiring Entrepreneurs are Flocking to Istanbul

April 17, 2018
2 min read

Turkey’s capital is maturing into a global center for entrepreneurship

By Sara Staffaroni, Content Manager, Alice

Istanbul is the only city in the world that spans two continents — Europe and Asia. The city is separated by a 31 kilometer-long waterway called the Bosphorus and is connected by two bridges: the Bosphorus Bridge and the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge. With such a unique location and a dynamic culture, Istanbul is destined to to be a powerhouse for innovation and fostering entrepreneurship.

In the past decade, the Istanbul startup ecosystem has bloomed into a vibrant scene. This is evident in the many co-working spaces, accelerators, angel investors, venture capital firms and communities that are emerging throughout the city. The entrepreneurial spirit isn’t only limited to the country’s largest city; today in Turkey, there are more than 60 incubators and accelerators, 40 angel networks and 20 local VC funds.

Why is Istanbul becoming such a hot attraction for driven entrepreneurs?

The Geographical Location is GOLD

If you’re a entrepreneur looking to tap into global markets, Istanbul is in nearly the perfect spot to reach multiple continents. The city’s location gives startups access to Europe, the Middle East, Russia and Central Asia.

Bosphorus waterway and the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey

Cost of Living and Doing Business is Lower Than Other Regions

To give U.S. folks some perspective — the cost of living index in Istanbul is 56.61% lower than in New York. But the affordability is also relevant when compared to the neighboring tech hubs in Europe and Asia. This year, the corporate tax rate in Turkey is 22%, which is relatively low when compared to neighboring European countries that range from the mid-20s to high-30s.

The Tech Talent Pool is Vast

Istanbul’s universities, including Yildiz Technical University and Istanbul Technical University, are attracting intelligent and driven young engineering talent. And thanks to the city’s affordable living and emerging startup resources, young professionals are choosing Istanbul as their long-term home.

Turkey’s FDI Law allows international investors to have the same rights and liabilities as local investors. So, the conditions for setting up a business in Istanbul are the same as for local entrepreneurs. This is a great incentive for startups who want to target the EMEA market to choose Istanbul as their home and hence contribute to the local ecosystem.

GEC Is Happening in Istanbul!

The reasons above are just a few of the attractive entrepreneurial aspects on Turkey’s largest city. Check out Alice’s Istanbul entrepreneur ecosystem for a better view of the city’s resources.

Istanbul’s vibrant startup environment has caught the attention of the Global Entrepreneur Network, which is hosting its annual Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) in Istanbul on April 16–19, 2018. The GEC is a gathering where entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, policymakers and other thought leaders work together to help bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare. Alice’s president Elizabeth Gore is at GEC, so be sure to catch her on stage or in the hallways.

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