The finalists of this year’s Entrepreneur of the Year Contest, organized with the theme “Entrepreneurs Without Borders,” are determined. The first place winner, to be announced at the ceremony on April 8, will represent Turkey in Monte Carlo.

The finalists of the “Entrepreneur of the Year Contest,” organized by Ernst & Young Turkey and Milliyet newspaper for the seventh time this year with the cooperation of CNN Turk, are determined.

The entrepreneur who takes first place in the contest in Turkey with the theme “Entrepreneurs Without Borders” will compete in front of an independent jury in the “World Entrepreneur of the Year” contest finals in Monte Carlo in June 2010.

The World Entrepreneur Of The Year contest, which has been held since 1986 and has awarded prizes to the most dynamic and successful entrepreneurs of every year, has been held in Turkey since 2004. The winner represents Turkey every year in the “World Entrepreneur of the Year Contest.”

The award ceremony on April 8

The finalists of the “Entrepreneur of the Year” met the jury members composed of pioneering names in the business world such as Ilhan Parseker, participating on behalf of the President of the Board of Directors of TOBB; Suzan Sabancı Dinçer, President of the Board of Directors of Akbank, Ferit Şahenk, President of the Board of Directors of Doğuş Group; Prof. Dr. Eser Borak; Prof Dr Özer Ertuna; Erkut Yucaoğlu, President of MAP Aviation and Energy Systems; the winners of 2009; Yılmaz Yılmaz, President of the Board of Directors of Koton Mağazacılık, and Vice Vice President Gülden Yılmaz under the chairmanship of Hanzade Doğan Boyner, Vice President of the Board of Directors of Doğan Gazetecilik. The entrepreneur who will represent Turkey in Monte Carlo will receive the award at a ceremony to be held at the Four Seasons Bosporus on Thursday, April 8.

“Entrepreneur of the Year” Contest in Turkey

The Turkey part of the World Entrepreneur of the Year contest was held in 2004 for the first time in Turkey in cooperation with Ernst&Young Turkey and Milliyet Newspaper. The bar for the Entrepreneur of the Year contest is rising continuously, and awareness is increasing all over Turkey. The contest has played an important role in bringing Turkish entrepreneurs to the platform they deserve in both Turkish and world public opinion.

The winners of previous years in Turkey


Süleyman Orakçıoğlu / President of the Board of Directors of Orka Group


Kerim Taner / CEO of Alara Agriculture


Sedat Yalınkaya / CEO of Goldas


Ersin Akarlılar / CEO of Mavi Giyim


Orhan Turan / President of the Board of Directors of ODE Isolation


Gülden & Yilmaz Yilmaz / President and Vice President of

the Board of Directors of Koton Mağazacılık

Contest Finalists


Starting production of antibacterial glasses

Esin Gural Argat & Erol Güral, representing the third generation of Gürok Group founded in 1948, joined the contest with ArtCraft. Güral Siblings, who decided that it was “glass” which would enable them to use their own experiences and carry them to the global market, set out to establish a factory together with their father between 1990 and 1997. Esin Güral Argat said:

“We increased the 20,000 tons/year production capacity during the first establishment stage of the factory to 85,000 tons/year in 2010. We increased the number of employees from 210 to 1,200. Our mission is to be fast, flexible and innovative in glassware, and our vision is “to increase the amount of turnover faster than the amount, and the profitability faster than the turnover.”

Adding that ArtCraft aims to compose 50 percent of their capacity of value added products, Argat said “In 2009, we reached 110 million TL in turnover. Our goal for 2023 is to become one of the two biggest glass producers in the world. We focus on innovative works. At the end of the year, the production of antibacterial glasses will start.”


Aiming to spread the world with new services

Celebi Holding was established in 1958 by Cavit Çelebioğlu, the father of Can and Canan Çelebioğlu, with 1 set of stairs and 5 workers.

Stating that they are celebrating the 5th anniversary of their establishment this year, Canan Çelebioğlu said that the group serves in a variety of different areas from ground handling services to terminal, port and marina management, from security to food, from travel agency to personnel transportation.

Noting that they have started to have a place in the world markets with their investments in Hungary, India, Belgium and Germany, Çelebioğlu said:

“We aim to spread our services to other countries. We are pursuing a growth strategy in Europe, Russia, the Middle East and India. Nearly 10,000 people are employed in the group. We serve over 400 million customers. Our consolidated sales revenue in 2009 is 140 million euro. “


Providing schooling for cosmetics sector

Tekin Acar, who started his business life selling newspapers, corn and water during his summer vacations, started a perfumery business in 1979 in a part of a 16 sqm store in Ankara. He started selling cosmetics in the whole store in 1981. Acar said, “In the same year, we opened our second store of 100 sqm in the same market. Until 1989, we continued our operations in these two stores and started our growth journey from there.”

Saying that Tekin Acar is an innovative and entrepreneurial company, Acar explained that they have a customer- and staff-focused operation.

Noting that instead of shrinking in the crisis period, they added new stores to their portfolio, Acar pointed out that the company grew in the times of crisis.

Acar said, “We focus on staff training. Until today, we awarded 10,344 training certificates. We serve as a school in the sector.” Acar stated that they intend to open stores abroad in the next period, starting with Sarajevo in the first stage. Acar also noted that the 2009 turnover of the company was TRY 115 million.


Simultaneous follow-up in shoe sales with barcode

Inci was first established by his grandfather, Murat Kızıltaş, as a shoeshine parlor. Ali Murat Kızıltaş said, “This parlor was turned into a footwear store in Fatih by my father, Ahmet Nuri Kızıltaş, in 1947.”

Inci continued its operations as a single store until 1987, Kızıltaş said. “Today, Inci has 80 sales points in total with 48 own stores and 32 franchises.

We sell under the brand “Inci” in Turkey and as “Attimo” abroad. We export our own designs to more than 50 countries.”

Explaining that they started using barcode system in at a time when they were not even any chain markets in Turkey, Kızıltaş said, “Therefore, we simultaneously track daily sales. We recorded all the transactions. We have been able to track stocks very efficiently.”

Inci started online sales in response to customer demand, Kızıltaş said that their 2009 turnover was TRY 100 million.


Opening stores abroad by familiarizing foreigners with halva

Emin Dindar, the fourth-generation representative of Koska, whose foundations were laid in a halva store operated by Haci Emin Bey in Denizli in 1907, said, “Today, we export to 48 countries. We are planning to open stores in Paris, London, and Dubai in the coming period.”

He said they aim to carry traditional tastes abroad. “We can market Turkish delight products more easily. We are slowly getting our foreign customers accustomed to the taste of halva.”

Koska currently employs 600 people in the company. Dindar said that their 2009 turnover was TRY 100 million.

They have two facilities in which they produce halva, Turkish delight, and jam. Dindar said, “We are currently operating in six stores. We are planning to open three more stores in the coming period. “

More recently, they have begun to focus on organic and light products. He said, “We are constantly improving our product range. Therefore, we obtained a growth of nearly 20 percent in exports in 2009 despite the crisis.”