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Issue 71 Interview
A Desirable Deal - Teknopark Istanbul Cultivates Fertile Ground for Entrepreneurs

An Exclusive interview with Mr. Bilal Macit, CEO of Teknopark Istanbul, he reflects on years of collaborative participation that is creating a national eco-system in which R&D activities, innovation and technological production are supported, stimulating entrepreneurship and the economy, with the second stage of construction on track to be commissioned soon.

Defence Turkey: Could you please inform us on the partnership and the management structure of Teknopark Istanbul?
As you may know, Teknopark Istanbul was established with the cooperation of governmental and private sectors under the main partnership of the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) and the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (İTO). Istanbul University of Commerce (Istanbul Commerce University), Havaalanı İşletme ve Havacılık Endüsrileri A.Ş. (Airport Management & Aeronautical Industries) (HEAŞ) and STM Defense Technologies & Engineering participated in the Teknopark Istanbul Founding Delegation which is a significant part of İTEP (Advanced Technology Industrial Park and Airport Project).
Throughout Teknopark Istanbul’s evolution period that spans 10 years, this establishment is expected to host an indoor area of 950.000 m² and over 1,000 advanced technology companies, with over 30,000 highly qualified employees and hundreds of incubator entrepreneurs and it is expected to create an annual turnover around the level of $ 10 billion USD.
Defence Turkey: Could you please inform us on the clustering activities at your premises?
We believe that the clustering activities that are in our focus technologies, which are Defense, Space, Aviation, Maritime and Biomedical are of essence for the development of an eco-system. Highly productive feedback and concrete output can be obtained through the innovation and design based on R&D from the academic circles, science world and industrial cooperation. Therefore, one of our most important missions here is to coordinate these organizations without any profit motives.
Within this scope, we organize national and international days of cooperation, gather our companies at the technopark in their areas of focus and hold sectorial cooperation days. In line with the goals of SSM, we also organize supply/demand and main contractor/subcontractor events with the companies within our eco-system. Within this frame, we gave great support to the establishment of SAHA Istanbul (Defense, Aviation and Aerospace Cluster Association). This Association active at our technopark is playing a driving role regarding the development of the national companies in our region with its approximately 200 members and the sectorial gathering days that it organizes.
Besides, in order to coordinate the innovation efforts in the area of healthcare, we also provide support to İSEK (İstanbul Healthcare Industry Cluster) as well. We are also conducting the activities with the relevant shareholders toward building a center of excellence in the maritime sector, which is our other area of focus. Additionally, we are hosting ARGEMİP (R&D Centers Communication and Cooperation Platform) in which Turkey’s major industrial enterprises take part and we also coordinate their events.
In addition to the aforementioned, it is very important for us to create an environment in which all acquired knowledge and experience are shared through the formation of a common link with our universities. In order to achieve this, again without any profit-making motives, and as we regard it as an investment in Turkey’s future, we allow them to take part at our campus in the most active fashion with their laboratories qualified to support the industry and with their master and postgraduate programs, by allocating spaces to our universities at Teknopark Istanbul for free.
Defence Turkey: With nearly 150 R&D companies and over 2500 R&D staff you have a structure which is growing every day. Within this framework, what would you like to say on the activities of the domestic and foreign companies active in the Defense & Aerospace, Space and IT sectors?
We can say that we just started to accomplish our targets at Teknopark Istanbul. Currently, though merely two years passed since our establishment, 362 projects are being conducted, so far 282 projects have been successfully accomplished and utility models have been produced and 17 patent applications have been made.
At Teknopark Istanbul, which aims to become a technology base creating Turkey’s own brands, many offices were allocated to domestic companies such as Aselsan, Roketsan, STM, TEI, Yaltes, Pavo, C-Tech, Kale Havacılık, Altınay, Dearsan, Figes and Hexagon and to world giants which would create additional added value to our country such as GE, Samsung and SAP.
As you may know, minor or major parts of our national projects are being accomplished at our teknopark. It is not possible to give the details of the projects but for example; Altınay company completed its Six-Axis Action Platform Development Project, SEFT company accomplished the MTA Turkuaz Domestic Seismic Research Vessel Project, C-Tech company finalized its SATCOM project which is developed for the Unmanned Air Vehicles, and Milper company completed Carbon Fiber Reinforced Composite Propeller Development Project at Teknopark Istanbul.
Defence Turkey: Mr. Macit, numerous companies are also waiting in line to take part at Teknopark Istanbul, which is growing day by day. Within such a framework, you are preparing to make the opening of the second phase of your teknopark in Q2 of 2017 in order to increase your capacity. In this context, which message would you like to give to the domestic and foreign companies wishing to take part at the Teknopark Istanbul within this scope? Could you please inform us about the conducted activities, and the staff and campus capacity to be created with the launch of the second phase?
With the addition of 84.000 m2 second phase blocks, the number of R&D companies will increase to 300, the number of incubator entrepreneurs will go up to 250 and employment of R&D staff will increase to 4000. The total Incubator Center area of Teknopark Istanbul will reach 12.000 m2 with the completion of the second phase blocks. Moreover, the construction of approximately 40.000 m2 built by companies such as KordSA Global and Intertech building their own center of excellence, was completed in 2016. In addition to the second phase structures, the contracts for the construction of nearly 40 thousand m2 have been signed with the universities and companies that are active in our focus areas. When the other phases are completed, Teknopark Istanbul will be one of the greatest and most qualified technoparks in Europe.
Our assessments for our second stage structures are ongoing, we are expecting qualified companies that desire to become a part of our eco-system, in our focus technology areas, and such companies can reserve their spots at Turkey’s Innovation Center.
Defence Turkey: Almost 90 percent of your existing capacity is composed of domestic companies. Are there any promotional activities or incentive packages built for the investors in foreign countries especially active in the defense industry on your road map with the launch of the second stage?
At Teknopark Istanbul, our doors are open to all qualified foreign investors who would contribute added value to our country. Our aim here is the production of more qualified products with higher added value through achieving more design, R&D and innovation. Sectors in which Turkey is strong, we need more qualified production with high added value based on innovation. Therefore, we aim to pave the way for new investments by both increasing employment and savings.
To this end our negotiations, especially with the defense industry giants, continue. I hope to share good news soon. Our coordination with our main partner SSM on the offset liabilities of the foreign countries and on the investments that they will be making in Turkey are still proceeding.
Defence Turkey: What are your comments on the added value and innovation contributed to the sector by the Defense - Aerospace, Space and IT companies active within your body?
The most important agenda of the Teknopark Istanbul executive companies is to conduct active guidance in the establishment of relations between the companies at their campuses, between the university-industry, main contractor-subcontractor and university-industry relations. We aim to increase the cooperation and communication between the companies active in our focus technology areas or have the potential to do so. Toward increasing the competitiveness and productivity, we need brands that are capable of producing advanced technology products and marketing them in the international arena.
We are organizing sectorial cooperation days. Moreover, we provide support throughout the certification and accreditation processes even in patent issues that are often regarded as barriers ahead of the entrance to the sector.
Defence Turkey: What would you like to say on the activities and events planned as Teknopark Istanbul for the upcoming period? Moreover, do you plan any promotional activities with broader participation in international defense industry events in the future as Teknopark Istanbul with your companies?
Teknopark Istanbul has full membership in global organizations such as the IASP (International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation) and ASPA (Association of Asian Science Parks). Within this context, Teknopark Istanbul is taking an active role at the IASP, which won the right to host the 34th IASP World Technoparks Congress to be held in the year 2017. We expect the participation of nearly a thousand technoparks and company executives and sectorial investors from hundreds of countries.
Besides, in addition to providing free office areas to R&D and incubator companies of both technoparks through bilateral agreements made with the technoparks of Europe, North America and Asia, it is also planned that they will benefit from all of the administrative and technological infrastructure services offered by the technoparks, without any fees. Currently, we are providing services to our companies wishing to reach to German, Swiss, American, Malaysian and South Korean markets, but this number will display a continuous increase in line with changing expectations and requirements. At the same time, the sectorial cooperation days with companies abroad are being provided to our companies free of charge. We have been conducting a separate budget study regarding the event participation; we are providing support to our companies especially at the events with national participation and events supported by the SSM or the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce.
Defence Turkey: Lastly, is there any message you would like to convey to the readers of Defence Turkey magazine?
With the services we provide, we aim to create a national eco-system in which R&D activities, innovation and technological production are supported in a way that these would stimulate entrepreneurship and economy. So, we invite our companies to become a part of such an eco-system.
As Teknopark Istanbul, our objective is to create a Turkey Project specific to Istanbul. Within this context, we aim to host the leading world giants and international brands that could create added value to our country as well as becoming a technology base capable of creating Turkey’s own brands. In short, Teknopark Istanbul does not have short-term plans. On the contrary, we started a long-term path with the goal of creating an area in which advanced technologies, that can contribute to Turkey’s technologic infrastructure, could meet and be developed. Our aim on this course, with the services we provide, is to create a national eco-system in which R&D activities, innovation and technological production are supported in a way that these would stimulate entrepreneurship and economy.
Our doors are open to all our companies sharing the same target and sincerity with us. We call to each of them to strive to reach the targets set for 2023.
February 26 2017
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