University-Business Relations Research and Application Center
ITO President Avdagic: Young People Should Become Entrepreneurs

ITO President Avdagic: Young People Should Become Entrepreneurs

May 14th, 2020

Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (ITO) Chairman of the Board of Directors Mr. Şekib Avdagiç has spoken at the online conference organized by Istanbul Ticaret University, explaining the effects of the pandemic on the Turkish economy. Mr. Avdagic said that for the progress of the country, young people should strive to be entrepreneurs.

The first guest of the conference series entitled “Presidents at the University of the Business World” launched by the Istanbul Ticaret University has been the ITO President Mr. Şekib Avdagiç. Istanbul Ticaret University Rector Prof. Dr. Yücel Oğurlu made a short speech at the beginning of the conference, which was moderated by Dr. Muhittin Adıgüzel, Director of University-Business Relations Application and Research Center of Istanbul Ticaret University, and broadcasted on the University’s Youtube channel. Prof. Dr. Oğurlu stated that ITO is the founder and biggest supporter of Istanbul Ticaret University and thanked all ITO executives in the person of Mr. Avdagic.

Stating that Istanbul Ticaret University continues to carry out important events over the internet during the pandemic process, Prof. Dr. Oğurlu said that they will host the presidents of Turkey’s largest chambers of commerce within the scope of the conference series entitled “Presidents at the University of the Business World”. Prof. Dr. Oğurlu underlined that hosting the president of the university’s founder, that is ITO, in the first program was the right choice.


ITO President Mr. Avdagic took the floor after Prof. Dr. Oğurlu. In his speech, Mr. Avdagic emphasized that Turkey did not cause COVID-19 and that it is not problem that Turkey can solve on its own, and said that this should be taken into account when analyzing the issue. Reminding the debate on how Turkey could fill the gap left by China during the period when the COVID-19 epidemic first started and how Turkey could increase its exports by taking advantage of this situation, he said:

“At that time, we could not foresee that this would be a global issue, but the possibility for the breakout to turn into a pandemic emerged by the end of February, and a new process developed thereafter. Here, we have to remember the things done by the Government, and particularly the Ministry of Health during those days. From the very first day, the Ministry of Health took initiatives, prepared the protocols, and made plans on COVID-19 medications. Thanks to these timely measures, the epidemic started relatively very late in our country as compared to many other countries, and progressed in a controlled manner. The point we have reached in health is actually a herald that we can now control the economy as well.”

Mr. Avdagiç stated that the amenities in respect of loan payments and the short-time working allowance, which have been put into effect as part of the set of measures announced by the President Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on March 18, that is during the first days of the pandemic, were positive steps, and described them as steps that will ensure the preservation of the employment rate and prevent an increase in unemployment rate.


Underlining that the Southeast, Northeast and West border crossings have an important place in Turkey’s foreign trade, Mr. Avdagic said that during the first days of the epidemic, the vehicles exiting the country using the said border crossings decreased rapidly, but reaching 95 percent of the pre-pandemic levels, now they have almost returned to normal.

Mr. Avdagic emphasized that some sectors had to halt their operations so that the pandemic does not spread any further, whereas that there is even progress in many other sectors, which is why they are in a state of cautious optimism. With that being said, Mr. Avdagic warned, “However, it would be extremely optimistic to say that the cases have reached their peak and will now decline; we must continue to implement our measures.”


Mr. Avdagic stated that as ITO, they have come up with the motto of “First we have to survive and then we have to stay afloat” during the pandemic process. In this context, Mr. Avdagic indicated that they have switched to a flexible working system also within the ITO, and said “We maintain our services, but we also consider the health of our staff. We observe social distancing in all works.” Mr. Avdagic also said that they moved many of the services provided by ITO to the internet platform and electronic environment and renewed their web portals in this process.

Noting that ITO members and sector representatives are also working very hard to come out of the pandemic strong, Mr. Avdagic underlined that they were invited to the Governorate Pandemic Board by the Istanbul Governorship. Mr. Avdagic said:

“We quickly shared the economic and health measures taken by the Government with our members and the society. We respond to the needs of our people in many areas telling them ‘You stay home, we continue to produce for you’. Additionally, ITO continues to distribute masks to its members.”

Vocational high schools established by ITO produce masks and disinfectants

Stating that ITO is making great efforts to prevent the society from being harmed during the pandemic process, Mr. Avdagic said that there are 54 vocational high schools established by ITO, and that they provided them with the necessary support in order to produce masks and disinfectants as soon as after the pandemic started, and said, “We also made a significant contribution to the ‘Biz Bize Yeteriz’ (We Have Each Other) campaign. We are trying to meet the needs of our members by implementing the ‘Nefes’ (Relief) loan.”

Mr. Avdagic said that despite the the pandemic, there has been a much lesser decrease in company opening figures than they expected since March.

Young people should become entrepreneurs

Mr. Şekip Avdagiç also gave advice to young people, underlining that young people mostly work in salaried jobs after graduation, that they demand desk jobs, passenger cars and telephones, and that this is a risk for both their development and the development of the country. Mr. Avdagiç said, “Young people want to lead a readily available and established system”. He stated that we, as a country, are below developed countries in terms of young people becoming entrepreneurs, and said that universities, and Istanbul Ticaret University in particular, bear a great responsibility in this regard. Mr. Avdagic stated that they are ready to give all kinds of support to Istanbul Ticaret University in this regard, as they have done so far.