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Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

Part of Global Science and Innovation Network UK in Turkey

23rd January 2015

Top Turkish entrepeneurs – in London

Take five brilliant Turkish entrepreneurs.

Add Turkish and British venture capitalists, round-trip tickets to London, consultancy services by accountants and lawyers on setting up in the UK, work visas and tax issues; mentoring sessions; and a guided tour of London’s “Tech City” technology hub.  Mix thoroughly and turn out.


Result: a host of terrific business opportunities for the Turkish entrepreneurs.  Good luck to them!

I wrote last July about our “GREAT Start-up Competition” for Turkey.  I said we in the UK believed passionately that the exchange of ideas and trade created stability, prosperity and well-being.  That was why we strove to bring together Turkish and British companies at every opportunity.

I wrote about why we were looking to find the most creative entrepreneurs in Turkey to introduce them to the exciting opportunities in London.

We received 186 applications for the five categories.  The selection panel, including top Turkish entrepreneurs such as Ali Sabanci, Nevzat Aydin, Tugrul Tekbulut, Canan Ozsoy and Hasan Aslanoba, met in November.  They selected five winners: Female Technology Entrepreneur – Natali Yesilbahar of Vitringez.com; Undergraduate Young Entrepreneur – Onur Candan of Visioninteractive.com; Technology Entrepreneur from Anatolia – Cenk Soyak of Alo Tech; Social Technology Entrepreneur – Verda Eskinaz of Favoreat; Jury’s Special Award – Arden Agopyan of Hotelrunner.

The three-day visit, accompanied by a group of venture capitalists, included a briefing at No 10 Downing Street with the Prime Minister’s Technology and Business Advisors and by the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy Lord Janvrin.  The winners also enjoyed a briefing at London and Partners and a session with Netmera, an existing client of UK Trade & Investment, on the practical issues of setting up businesses in the UK.  The winners explored the practical side of offices and networking at the Tech City Google campus.

The net result is that several of the Turkish entrepreneurs are interested in doing business in the UK, and several of the venture capitalists are keen on doing business with the Turkish entrepreneurs.

It sounds like a win-win to me.

We hope to be running more competitions in the future: watch this space.

Meanwhile, you don’t have to win a competition to want to do business in the UK, with its brand, expertise and financial opportunities and access to global markets.  If you’re interested in setting up business in the UK, contact our hard-working inward investment team through Zeynep Oztekbas on zeynep.oztekbas@mobile.ukti.gov.uk .  You’re welcome!

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About Leigh Turner

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of…

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of the UN and other organisations; stories here will reflect that.

About me: I arrived in Vienna in August 2016 for my second posting in this wonderful city, having first served here in the mid-1980s. My previous job was as HM Consul-General and Director-General for Trade and Investment for Turkey, Central Asia and South Caucasus based in Istanbul.

Further back: I grew up in Nigeria, Exeter, Lesotho, Swaziland and Manchester before attending Cambridge University 1976-79. I worked in several government departments before joining the Foreign Office in 1983.

Keen to go to Africa and South America, I’ve had postings in Vienna (twice), Moscow, Bonn, Berlin, Kyiv and Istanbul, plus jobs in London ranging from the EU Budget to the British Overseas Territories.

2002-6 I was lucky enough to spend four years in Berlin running the house, looking after the children (born 1992 and 1994) and doing some writing and journalism.

To return to Vienna as ambassador is a privilege and a pleasure. I hope this blog reflects that.