ANKARA, Turkey, December 19, 2008 - The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) and Cisco inaugurated the Cisco® Entrepreneur Institute in Ankara. The opening ceremony was attended by Zafer Caglayan, Minister of Trade and Industry; Halim Mete, vice president of the Board of TOBB and Serdar Sayan, director of the Cisco Entrepreneur Institute. The first group of 20 participants will start the course in the last week of December.
The objective of the institute is to help foster the creation and success of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). The institute provides practical business insights for entrepreneurs, facilitates knowledge sharing with local business leaders, and shows participants how to take advantage of information and communications technology (ICT) to speed up business growth.
"New businesses are a key driver of growth and jobs in our economy. We found, however, that there is a lack of practice-oriented business and entrepreneurial courses that incorporate an understanding of how ICT can help a company succeed," said Kaan Terzioglu, Cisco's vice president for Europe East and Central Asia. "Cisco has a long track record in education with Cisco Networking Academy. Building further on this experience, the Cisco Entrepreneur Institutes are focusing on entrepreneurial skills and promote SMB development through the strategic use of ICT."
Cisco is providing the institute with an online course-management system and a localised business curriculum based on the iExecutive Education Program (iExec), developed by Cisco's Internet Business Solutions Group. The 50-hour program includes strategic and business planning, financing, the development of venture capital relationships, and the use of information and communications technology to achieve better business results. Facilitators will deliver 70 percent of the content via workshops with discussions, group exercises and case study reviews, while 30 percent is based on e-learning. Workshops also include Web 2.0 technologies with innovative tools such as Moodle and the Cisco WebEx® collaboration platform.
Reconfirming TOBB's commitment to research projects and initiatives for the development of SMBs, Halim Mete said: "The ones who adapt well to the knowledge revolution and get prepared for globalisation will succeed, others will not be competitive. The entrepreneur institute is a private sector initiative that complements the government's current and planned reforms."
TOBB and Cisco also plan to build a network of entrepreneur institutes across the country through local chambers of commerce.
In September 2006, Cisco announced a significant investment initiative in Turkey totaling up to $275 million (Turkey new lira 400 million) over five years, focused primarily on enabling Turkey to better compete globally through improved education and the adoption of ICT. The establishment of the Entrepreneur Institute is an important milestone in this process.