The wind of innovation blows on the Bosphorus. Teknofest is a three-day innovation event organized in Istanbul by the Turkey Technology Team Foundation (T3) to show the world the progress of the country in technology. On the scene next week, the fair is dedicated to aeronautics, with a look, however, enlarged to many other sectors. Among the exhibitors there are also eight Italian companies, interested in establishing relationships and procuring clients in an emerging and potentially interesting market.
Such as Carepy, a Bari startup producing an app that can improve therapeutic adherence by involving patients, pharmacists and doctors. Or Tooteko, from Venice, which intends to make museums and works of art accessible to the blind. Or, again, Iscleanair, machinery that purifies the air within a radius of 25 meters. Three Italian companies in search of opportunities – and, why not, investors – at the crossroads between Europe and Asia. The Italian expedition is, moreover, completed by EOS (active in the field of nanoparticles), ADPM Drones (producing drones), Home 3D Editor (interior design). Officina del Sole (photovoltaic) and Biospremi (food) are the last, but not least, young companies joining the group. All of the gravitate in the orbit of Italia StartUp, the main association in Italy.
Over the pst few years, Ankara suddenly found itself playing a role in the continental economic scenarios. Not that the strategic and geopolitical importance of the country was not known. But the economic weight is a recent thing.
With an interesting demographics (half the population is under 30 yo), with 800 thousand graduates a year (source: government data) and a metropolis – Istanbul – with 15 million inhabitants, in the last period Turkey has been presenting itself at fairs all over the world, also in Milan. Sectors range from textiles to precision mechanics. The automotive sector is among those driving, especially in the production of components for third parties. There is a local brand (BMC) of a certain weight and by 2019, according to government sources heard by StartupItalia!, will be ready the first 5 prototypes of an electric car and self-driving car made by a consortium of Turkish companies.
The event, opening next week, offers contest for students dedicated to nanotechnology, coding and artificial intelligence. But is also associated with a competition dedicated to rockets, one for satellites and one for unmanned aircrafts: like saying, in a turbulent region, the space and the skies can become the most faithful of the allies.
Air is a very interesting business: the new airport in Istanbul, where the Teknofest pavilions have been placed, will be inaugurated on October 29th and is destined to be the busiest in the world, with 150 million passengers a year and the the largest duty free area in the world.
The goals of the leader Erdogan – who has been in power for 16 years and recently collected a constitutional reform that gives him ample powers, are ambitious. In a few decades the country has moved from 18th place on a world scale to 13th in terms of GDP, and aims to do even better: “Turkey wants to overcome Italy for gross domestic product within a few years. The strong government – explains Gino Costa, of the Government Agency for the Promotion of Investments – guarantees the stability necessary for those who want to invest “.
Ankara looks abroad and has set up a network of incentives to attract capital from firms interested in opening a local company. “The currency storm that has recently hit the country can encourage companies coming from, for example, Europe,” Costa continues.
“But the macro-economic turbulence makes Turkey, for now, an option suitable for experienced players only, looking for high-risk investments. There are certainly good opportunities, “a Big Four analyst in Istanbul told our newsmagazine,” since prices have fallen, but in the short and medium term, political and macro-economic issues make it a high-risk country”. It will be interesting to see what Erdogan’s responses will be, and if the alliances that he manages to tighten up, not just in economics, will succeed in reassuring investors.