Agriculture, which has always played a big role in the global economy, is experiencing a major crisis. During a period in which sustainable and ecological agriculture has come to the fore, innovation has championed all revolutions in the industry.
Emerging trends, such as accessible agricultural technologies, are gradually making agricultural activities more sensitive, efficient, profitable and sustainable. In this scope, the Turkish Economy Bank (TEB) brought together social entrepreneurs covering agriculture and technology together with angel investors.
Angel investment platform
To support the transformation in the investment world and to continue to offer alternative investment areas, TEB, the bank that offers the “angel investor” concept to its customers, has renewed its “TEB Private Angel Investment Platform” to gather its activities in this field under a single roof.
Aiming to shed light on project ideas and initiatives that will make a difference for Turkey through the platform and to encourage “impact investing,” the lender announced this development at a special meeting where it brought together social entrepreneurs and investors.
TEB Private Banking, which has been instrumental in the achievement of many successful stories by bringing together entrepreneurs and investors since 2013, has determined the theme of its first meeting for the “TEB Private Angel Investment Platform” as “Social Entrepreneurs Aiming at Ecological Sustainability. ”
Beyond financial support
Recalling that they started issuing licenses together with the Treasury Ministry after launching the angel investment platform, TEB Retail and Private Banking Senior Deputy General Manager Gökhan Mendi underlined that beyond financial support, the concept of investment means financing steps that will have an impact on the future .
Mendi stated that on the platform, they highlighted the concepts that their customers see as a priority.
“We have had a lot of angel investors since the beginning. Together with them, we have supported many startups. Today, the main areas of interest of our customers are quality education, fighting climate change, accessible and clean energy and water, and responsible production and consumption,” he noted.
For this purpose, Mendi said 77% of the respondents to the survey conducted for TEB Private stated that they care about and follow projects that create benefits for society.
“On top of that, 22% have not only followed them (projects) but invested in at least one social enterprise. In the same way, whether they are interested in social enterprise or not, we have also seen that the vast majority prefer initiatives that create social benefit when shopping,” he added.
Mendi also said most investors are taking into account factors such as social and environmental effects in their preferences.
“Today, we discussed ecological and sustainable social enterprise stories at our meeting, the theme of which has been set as ‘Social Entrepreneurs Aiming at Ecological Sustainability.’ You can invest in the problems you want solved socially or environmentally, you can be an investor in the solution,” he noted.
He stressed that TEB wants to reinforce this in Turkey. “We will invest in the world of technology with our angel investors, but in the coming period, you will often hear about impact investing from our bank.”
Social entrepreneurs take the stage
To draw attention to the importance of social enterprise and impact creation, TEB Private organized a special gathering that brought together investors and social entrepreneurs with solutions in the field of ecological problems and sustainable agriculture, and brought projects in this field to the forefront.
The opening speeches were made by TEB Retail Banking Group Marketing and Customer Experience Director Hayri Telekoğlu, startups.watch founder Serkan Ünsal and Ashoka Turkey board member Itır Erhart.
The event included a panel that addressed social enterprises and ecological sustainability, with panelists Tülin Akın, co-founder of the social enterprise TABİT, which focuses on agricultural information and communication technologies, Anatolian Grasslands Chair Yasemin Kireç and Good4Trust founder and Ashoka Turkey board member Uygar Ozesmi.
In this whole process, the world has begun to talk more about the measurable benefits and social goals than before, to make this system their financial product and to adopt a different position with the universe of investors, mentors and entrepreneurs.
With these developments in the field of social entrepreneurship, TEB Private in 2017 started to work together with social entrepreneurs and investors in Turkey who are not indifferent to this concept to support impact investments.
The bank, which carried its experience in angel investment to the field of social entrepreneurship, also cooperated with the social entrepreneurship network Ashoka Turkey and co-signed many projects such as social entrepreneur-investor meetings and the “Open Social Enterprise Platform,” which provides an open, transparent and accountable environment for social enterprises.
Farmer, customer behavior changes
Stating that TABİT came to life by establishing a web page in 2004, its founding partner Akın drew attention to the technology transformation of sustainable agriculture at a level that farmer families can reach with the smart village project.
“Since 2009, we have increased the area of service we provide to six countries. Farmers can take photos of their products, advertise them and publish them on their mobile phones, get weather or natural disaster information in advance, or learn the plot or stock market prices,” Akın said.
For her part, Anatolian Grasslands’ Kireç highlighted restorative agriculture as one of their focal points because “agriculture is humanity’s greatest intervention in nature.”
“In fact, far beyond agriculture, we are trying to design systems that combine ecology and economy. We aim for a systemic transformation. We are trying to create a garden, we are not growing a single flower,” Kireç said.
Good4trust’s Özesmi said they want to make sure that the source of energy from which light comes “is coming from producers who are beneficial to the planet, protect the future of the planet, make it fair, friendly to nature and friendly to people.”
“All producers, together with their supply networks, establish a circular relationship on a truly macro scale, preventing the least harm to nature and people. It is a new economy that produces products that are beneficial to the planet and nature.”