Country’s first organized industrial zone for women has been opened in the southeastern province of Gaziantep, paving way for many female entrepreneurs opening businesses.
“Our main goal is to increase the number of women industrialists and to expand businesses,” said Nihal Sabak, the head of the organized industrial zone exclusively for women, the Women Entrepreneur Support Center (KAGİDEM), established by Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality together with Gaziantep Chamber of Industry and İpekyolu Development Agency.
KADİGEM doesn’t help women with money but provides information on issues such as creating capital, reaching investors, legal obligations, e-commerce sites and exports, which one needs to know to be an industrialist, said Filiz Evran, advisor to the Union of Municipalities of Turkiye (TBB) and a board member of KAGİDEM.
“Because this is their own way, own talent and own initiative. We just create an atmosphere of solidarity over the challenges that may come down the road,” she added.
After the selection committee determines which projects to support among the beginning female industrialists, the selected female entrepreneur both gains the right to rent a workshop in the KAGİDEM for a very small amount and receives support to make her business more profitable.
KAGİDEM also provides training and consultancy services to the women it chooses.
There are 28 workshops in the industrial site with an area of 2,700 square meters. There is also a hall where products can be exhibited, conference and meeting rooms and a nursery.
In the industrial site, where entrepreneurs can stay for a maximum of two years, women produce many products from hotel slippers to pastries and occupational safety materials.
Organized industrial zone is also the scene of “women’s solidarity” as a female entrepreneur, who produces souvenirs, makes the chocolate container for another woman who produces chocolate.
“I saw a gap in my field, and I made this move when my paths crossed with KAGİDEM,” said Nursena Özkan, an entrepreneur who produces “carpet bonnets,” ensuring the carpets reach their destination safely.
Among the women entrepreneurs in the industrial zone is Fatma Taş, who designs haute couture clothes. She draws attention with the salwar suits she sews by combining shirts and the designs she make by transforming different materials.
Belkıs Çağlar, for her part, decided to establish a workshop for work safety shoes. She employs only women.
“My guests were very fond of the chocolate dates I made. Now I am going to mechanization. I made an agreement with cafes and markets as I aim to grow,” said Meral Marangoz, another entrepreneur.
Separately, stating that she bought a CNC machine and a laser machine with the support of the SMEs Development Organization of Turkiye (KOSGEB), Damla Kamalak, who works as a graphic designer in the packaging industry, produces boxes, frames, personalized products and baby magnets.