Social Entrepreneurship in Turkey

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Social entrepreneurship is a concept that expresses the blending of social ideals with management skills. Social enterprises aim to create a social or environmental impact, obtain more than half of their income from commercial activities, and use surplus or most of their profits for their main purposes. Based on social benefit, social entrepreneurship enables solutions to social problems and the transformation of systems. Thanks to social entrepreneurship, initiatives for the social benefit are emerging in the private sector. To benefit society with social entrepreneurship, unlike commercial entrepreneurship, it is necessary to be comfortable in terms of capital. In social entrepreneurship, it is possible to leave a sustainable legacy that responds to the needs of society, and make the world a better place without economic interest.

In Turkey, the actors most interested in social enterprise are academics, non-governmental organizations, and policymakers. It is known that the beginning of social entrepreneurship in the modern sense started in 2004. Today, there are about 9,000 social enterprises in Turkey. Social enterprises in Turkey are working in different fields, particularly in education. In Turkey, social enterprises are concentrated in Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir. There are great opportunities for the development of this field in Turkey. Since 2016, the social enterprise ecosystem in Turkey continues to evolve. Leading universities, technology incubators, non-governmental organizations, international actors, and policymakers hold great potential for building a more functional social enterprise ecosystem in the country.

Social entrepreneurship in Turkey is gaining momentum. New enterprises are established and the number of supporters in the ecosystem is increasing day by day. Women lead most of the social enterprises in the country. This indicates that social entrepreneurship makes a direct contribution to the development of women's entrepreneurship and the empowerment of women in the country. Supporting this area will directly benefit the strengthening of gender equality.

Almost half of the social enterprise leaders are under the age of 35. This reveals the potential of social entrepreneurship as a new economic model for the country's young population. 16 of 203 universities in the country are actively and regularly involved in the field of social entrepreneurship, and 13 of them have courses directly related to social entrepreneurship and social innovation in their curriculum. Social entrepreneurship is also covered as a separate topic within the scope of general entrepreneurship, sustainability, and social responsibility courses.

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