Istanbul Technical University hosts a National event to mark the closing of the SME Cluster Growth project

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On November 20th Istanbul Technical University (ITU) hosted an event at the ITU Magnet to mark the closing of the SME Cluster Growth project.  The aim of the project was to improve the skills and build the capacity of SMEs and entrepreneurial businesses operating in the field of engineering in line with their “growth targets” by interacting with universities and each other.

The team at ITU planned a workshop and invited different actors from the manufacturing engineering sector to participate. Besides executives like the operations manager of ITU Technopark (Kutay Güneştepe) and the general manager of Boğaziçi University Technopark (Cem Duran), the representatives of many SMEs on the growth journey participated in this workshop.

The purpose of the event was to bring together stakeholders in relation to the SME Cluster Growth project in order to discuss major ways to overcome certain problems SMEs face in their growth journey, as well as to provide a platform where different actors find the opportunity to network for collaboration.

The main theme was “keys to successful growth”.  Within that theme, the workshop focused on four topics:

  • access to finance
  • access to markets
  • access to talent
  • access to technology

The workshop began with discussions with a small number of experts, three different technopark managers, one VC manager, one ex-entrepreneur and one Foodhack manager. Then the discussion opened up to all participants, where people were invited to share their experiences and pain points.  Students were also invited to the event as they are an integral part of the manufacturing ecosystem we are developing today and will see in the future.

The event concluded with a networking session where one-to-one or as a group, participants got the opportunity to mingle in the foyer. The event attracted 83 attendees and there was excellent interaction between the SMEs, Entrepreneurs, University representatives, students and other actors in the Manufacturing Engineering ecosystem. As well as being an excellent networking opportunity the event offered opportunities to learn about funding, resources and R&D work.

From the feedback received, we understand that the event was seen as a quite attractive event for many participants. Some of the SMEs stated that sharing ideas with start-ups was a unique experience for them. HEI representatives brought some project ideas for future collaborations away with them. Students seemed very enthusiastic about being present.

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