Murat Cokgezen was born in Istanbul, Turkey. He is currently teaching at Marmara University Department of Economics, Istanbul, Turkey. His main research interests are entrepreneurship and business environment in Turkey, Central Asia and Caucasus. He is currently working on the effects of state owned enterprises on local entrepreneurship. Murat authored a GIM case study on a textile company in Turkey, namely Hey Textile, a study about a female entrepreneur in Turkey who achieved business success by breaking from the conventional practices in the textile industry and investing in poorer parts of Turkey.
Hey Textile is a clothing business in Turkey run by a woman entrepreneur, who achieved success by breaking from conventional business practices and investing in poorer parts of the country. About half of the jobs are created for women, which has contributed to their empowerment through greater income and independence. Click here to watch the Hey Textile video.
To download the Hey Textile case study from the GIM database, please click here.
What is Hey Textile’s basic value proposition and what makes its financial model sustainable?
Turkey, like many other emerging economies, suffers from socio – economic disparities in geographical regions. Hey Textile, by taking advantage of government incentives for business investments in impoverished regions, shifted its investments from developed regions around Istanbul to less developed ones, creating income opportunities and employment for poor rural populations in the textile industry. This new strategy, not only benefited Hey Textile, through cost reductions in their operations, but also the region’s economic and social welfare, through investment in rural areas. While the newly created jobs and offered trainings contributed to income increase of the poor locals on the one hand, increased income transformed social life in rural areas, especially through women’s empowerment, since women constitute the vast majority of Hey Textile’s work force.
What have been the biggest challenges hindering the Hey Textile’s development and growth?
The basic challenge Hey Textile faced when investing in rural predominantly agricultural areas, was the lack of qualified employees with relevant skills for the garment industry and the lack of familiarity of its newly hired workers with the working conditions in an industrial environment. The training programme offered by the enterprise and co-funded by Turkey’s State Employment Agency helped to overcome this constraint.
A second challenge came from the difficulty of finding adequate local partners for its investments in these rural areas, as most potential partners were not familiar with this industry and expectations of investors had to be carefully managed. Government incentives helped to spark regional development.
What are the benefits for the poor generated by Hey Textile?
Hey Textile’s four new production units created job opportunities for approximately 1,000 locals who live in and around four districts, in which per capita income is well below the average of Turkey. When one considers the populations of these districts are around 10’000 inhabitants, the impact of these investments on the community becomes apparent. The workers of Hey Textile factories are offered above average salaries and better conditions compared to the ones in the region.
What are the implications for a woman-led entrepreneurial success story in Turkey?
Despite the legal equality granted to women in the early years of the Republic, social status of women is still well behind men. All social and economic indicators are worse for women than those for men.
Initiatives of Mrs. Bektaş, owner of Hey Textile, have attracted the public’s attention and made her a public figure. This was something unusual, particularly in business. I am sure that success of Mrs Bektas encouraged other potential female entrepreneurs to enter into a business.
Additionally, she was appointed as President of the Women Entrepreneurs Board of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey. She put tremendous effort to improve women’s position in business, either as a worker or as an entrepreneur.
What has been your personal experience going through the GIM training and case research process?
‘What is good for business is also good for the poor’. I have always believed in this motto. Before participating in this project, the only source of my belief was the studies that had been done by others. Working on this case study gave me the opportunity to see how an ordinary business may change people’s life.