by Diane VanDyke
Business leaders from Turkey recently toured the College’s new Center for Entrepreneurial Studies (CES) and business incubator to learn about the support and growth of small and medium businesses in the United States.
Bayram Mecit, Vice President of KOSGEB, a small and medium enterprise development organization for Turkey’s Ministry of Industry and Trade, as well as other key officers of the company, spent a week visiting various U.S. business support programs and organizations. The visit was arranged through the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program.
Sirin Elci Ozsoy, Director of the Technopolis Group and Secretary General of the Turkish Innovation Association, also attended.
The KOSGEB representatives’ objectives included exploring the role of incubators, business development centers and institutions of higher education; learning how the U.S. government encourages growth for small and medium enterprises (SMEs); and seeing the mechanisms that organizations use to facilitate and support SMEs.
Through an interpreter, Dr. Amit Singh, Dean of the Business and Computer Science Department at the College, and CES Director Ayisha Sereni described the CES and the free support services, including consulting sessions with SCORE representatives, mentoring by College faculty and accounting, legal, technology and marketing services.
According to Mr. Mecit, SMEs make up 99 percent of the enterprises in Turkey. KOSGEB supports SMEs through consulting services, grants and interest-free loans. Their biggest challenge, he said, is the shortage of skilled labor.
“We have 16 business development centers in corroboration with international organizations,” Mr. Mecit said. “We have 35 technology centers located within universities.”
Dr. Singh also explained the concept and operations of a community college to the visitors since Turkey does not have community colleges. The College’s Associate Director of International Student Support Services Dilek Arig joined the session. Ms. Arig, who is from Turkey, teaches Turkish 101 – a new language and culture course at the College that started in September 2010.
For more information about the business incubator and its services, contact the CES Director Ayisha Sereni at CES@mc3.edu or 215-461-1147.