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Entrepreneurship has recently become a solution to unemployment which is the main problem of today’s economy and its innovative features. In addition to young unemployment problem, there is a long history of immigration. Today, Turkey has become a major hub for mixed flows of asylum seekers, irregular migrants, and migrant workers. Both increasing level of youth unemployment and the migrant flows in Turkey, are creating a big pressure on the Turkish economy and social life. It is essential to create new jobs and the key solution is promoting the entrepreneurship as it will have high impact on sustainability of employment creation.

A recent research on migrant entrepreneurship in Turkey has been conducted in Turkey within the context of MIGRAPRENEURS – “Entrepreneurial and Intrapreneurial Mindset Development for Highly Skilled Migrants in Europe”, an Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership Project supported by EC and British National Agency. MAKRO as the partner from Turkey conducted all research activities and developed the research report. A summary of research context and results are given below.

The National Needs Analysis Report of Turkey has been developed in order to outline; the current situation about migrants’ employability and entrepreneurship, needs of highly skilled migrants (HSM) in order to become entrepreneurs in Turkey, from the perspective of HSMs and organisations working with migrants as well as other bibliographic resources. It also aims to enlighten the gaps in trainings offered to migrants found through the research activities, as well as propose solutions for the improvement of trainings available for HSMs in these areas.

The report contents relies on the results gathered through a comprehensive desk research and field research activities. The primary dimensions of the report comprise of the results from focus groups meetings and in-depth interviews with highly skilled migrants and stakeholders.

The focus group phase of the research consists of two focus group meetings with the participation of HSMs and organisations working with migrants. The first focus group involved 6 HSMs who are self-employed or working in jobs beneath their current skills/education levels.  The second focus group involved 7 representatives from organisations working with migrants, which are; Ministry of National Education (MEB), Refugee Support Center (MUDEM), The Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (ASAM), Norwegian Refugee Council and Turkish Red Crescent. Focus groups mainly explored the training needs of highly skilled migrants in order shed light on the current gaps in training provision in the fields of employability and entrepreneurship.

In-depth interviews have been carried out with the 2 self-employed HSMs and 3 representatives from the organisations working with migrants. The interviews mainly explored the challenges faced in Turkey in terms of provision of entrepreneurship support to migrants, skills needed in order to run a business, the areas of training needs and most preferable learning methodology and tools for HSM. Interviews provided additional rich data to that gathered via focus groups and desk research.

Desk research results, provide an overview of the current situation on migrant entrepreneurship in Turkey. Although migrant entrepreneurship concept is in a development phase, it still does not take part in relevant policies, strategic plans or funding schemes.

As a country on the migration routes, Turkey is one of the three neighbouring countries that the Syrian population directly migrated after the civil war and facing huge migration flood. Due to the war is still going on and seem not to end in the near future, Syrian refugees are here to stay and creating the largest migrant community of future. This situation has worsened the unemployment problem, created a big pressure on the Turkish economy and social life. At that point, fostering entrepreneurial/intrapreneurial mind-set for migrants is essential, because this will help sustainability of migrant employment by also creation of new jobs and development of economy in the long term.

Field research results provided rich data about the challenges faced by HSMs and training needs to start a business in Turkey. A summary of field research results is given below.

Migrants are not in the same situation as natural born citizens when it comes to starting a business. They face various challenges which start with communication with local people and accessing correct information about relevant business legislation. They cannot access financial mechanisms to fund their business, if they do not have a Turkish ID. 

They need training on Turkish language and business legislations as these are the top hard skills and, communication as the top soft skill to run a business. Among other soft skills they might need; networking, creative thinking and problem solving are the most addressed ones.

The best methods for training that migrants would prefer are e-learning because they intensively use mobile devices, coaching/mentoring as this way they could reach the information they need more easily and case studies to realise their potential. As they use social media intensively, they can be reached and involved in training activities through Facebook.

Click to reach the whole research report.

Relevant training contents and methods for highly skilled migrants with entrepreneurial potential, has developed by relying on the comparative results from all partner countries (UK, Spain, France and Turkey). The training offers a fully interactive programme based on consultancy and peer support, guided by an experienced facilitator and business experts. Because it is a long term programme (rather than a one-off workshop), participants will receive guidance and support which can help them to make real changes and take positive steps forward to setting up a business or getting back onto the career ladder.

Complemented by online learning resources, the programme is split into two parts:

In the first part the participants will get soft skills training and find out if entrepreneurship is the right course for them. Trainers will support them to explore some of the ‘soft’ or ‘transferable’ skills needed to be an entrepreneur and try out some processes to help them generate new and exciting business ideas. The second part will offer participants training to help them produce a business plan. Detailed programme content is given below.


  • Module 1: Is entrepreneurship for me?
  • Module 2: Idea Generation and Creativity
  • Module 3: Mapping my journey to a new country
  • Module 4: Networking
  • Module 5: Becoming Intrapreneurial (an optional module for those deciding not to go on to the full course)


  • Module 1: Diagnosis and business fit audit
  • Module 2: Resources and capability analysis
  • Module 3: Intervention methods and leadership for business growth
  • Module 4: Developing and reporting an information dashboard
  • Module 5: Financial planning and re-structuring
  • Module 6: Project catalyst operationalisation
  • Module 7: Support for migrant start-up entrepreneurs
  • Module 8: Doing business in the other countries of the partnership (UK, France, Spain and Turkey)

The programme is for anyone who is a migrant with a degree or equivalent qualification but is currently working beneath their skill level or is unemployed, who wants to be an entrepreneur but is not sure if it’s for them and who has a business idea but doesn’t know how to get started.

You can contact us for more information.

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