SÖKTAŞ Regenerative Cotton Project

SÖKTAŞ has developed an innovative sustainable production model in cotton production called Regenerative Cotton. Through the project, SÖKTAŞ restores and revitalises soil health, sequesters carbon emissions and combats climate change. Alignment with natural cycles ushers in a multitude of additional and interrelated co-benefits related to biodiversity, water conservation and quality, reduction in greenhouse emissions, and improving livelihoods.

Direct Impact SDGs:

Our founding family has been cotton growers and merchants in the region before they established the Söktaş. This extensive farming experience, combined with the commitment to creating the very best, results in a unique proposition: We are able to harness the entire premium cotton production cycle, from fertile field to fabulous fabric.

Following extensive R&D projects undertaken in partnership with Cotton Research Institute, which first led to the creation of Meander 71, Türkiye’s first long-staple cotton, and then to Naturally Colored Cotton, we initiated our first Regenerative Cotton pilot project in 2018. Supported by Stella McCartney and the leading agricultural researchers, the Project has achieved the endorsement of the LVMH group as a whole. We began a supplementary Regenerative Cotton Project in its second year with WWF Turkey. Both projects have since been expanding, and by 2022, the size of fields we’ve allotted to Regenerative Cotton have exceeded 55 hectares.

  • Stella McCartney launched “Future of Fashion” at COP26 to drive future actions by engaging brands and consumers to participate in a more nature-positive fashion industry. Söktaş Regenerative Cotton Project was one of four next-generation materials explored in the event.


  • In 2019, Google announced the launch of the Global Fibre Impact Explorer (GFIE). Combining Google’s technical capabilities with WWF’s conservation expertise, this tool seeks to help fashion brands make more sustainable sourcing decisions. The primary goal is to identify high-risk fibres in brands’ portfolio and then guide them to recommendations on how to support local initiatives to improve their environmental impact.
  • Our Regenerative Cotton pilot project with Stella McCartney is featured in their introductory film.
  • LVMH Group presented our Regenerative Cotton Project as a case study at the tenth edition of Future Fabrics Expo/London in June 2022, with a unique display that explored the future landscape of the textile industry.
  • We also contributed to “Rewilding Textiles: Design for a Regenerative Epoch,” a publication produced by Maison Zero, which is a co-project of LVMH and Central Saint Martins College.

At Söktaş, we recognise interconnected ecosystems’ value and inherent resilience. Through employing centuries-long regenerative practices, we seek to undo the negative environmental effects of industrial agriculture.
Regenerative systems restore and revitalise soil health, sequester carbon emissions and combat climate change. Alignment with natural cycles ushers in a multitude of additional and interrelated co-benefits related to biodiversity, water conservation and quality, reduction in greenhouse emissions, and the improvement of livelihoods.
Conventional cotton production requires deep-tilling, high-water consumption, and excessive use of chemicals and pesticides. Its long-term effects are disastrous for the atmosphere, the waterways, the fields and the farmers who work them. The cycle is reversed with regenerative farming.
In our fields, we employ proprietary no-till/no-plough machinery and specialised cover crops that act as a blanket in the off-season. This way, carbon, moisture and the nutrients in the soil remain undisturbed and are reutilised by specially treated non-GMO cotton seeds.
According to us at SÖKTAŞ, cultivating Regenerative Cotton requires a holistic, place-based, systems approach. It is not a straightforward, one-size-fits-all set of practices. We work in close collaboration with leading researchers in the field and are constantly experimenting and refining our approach.
Through its unique two-century-old agriculture heritage and fifty-year expertise in yarn and fabric production, SÖKTAŞ is proud to lead this next phase in developing cotton fabrics. We truly believe that innovation motivated by the tenets of sustainable production and environmental care is the only way forward.

Regenerative agriculture holds immense promise for a range of co-benefits, including improving soil health, protecting biodiversity, conserving water resources, securing animal welfare, as well as building community resilience and livelihoods. Currently, a limited number of global pilot projects are being developed on location. Context-specific knowledge is an essential part of regenerative approaches.

SÖKTAŞ is one of the pioneers with its Regenerative Cotton mission, started in 2018, on our founding family’s lands in the fertile Menderes (Meander) Valley, Western Türkiye,10 km from SÖKTAŞ. The Meander valley has been home to ancient varieties of cotton, and skilful weavers of the region have been known to create beautiful fabrics with their craftsmanship. Weaving has been a long tradition here. This fertile land and its ancient history inspire and define the design philosophy of SÖKTAŞ.

80.000 kg of unseeded cotton has been harvested in our first two pilot crops, and we expect 300.000 kg for our 3rd crop that will be harvested in October 2022.

Restoring soil health requires time and patience, and we are still going through a transition period. Current yield and reduction in inputs are still not levelling out the costs. Still, we are confident that in time, with the improvement of soil health,  hence increased yield,  it will level out the upfront investments required for proprietary machinery, using a cover crop instead of a commercial one, and costs related to continuous testing & monitoring.

KPI or equivalent requiredUnitMeasurement MethodsPractice / Outcomes -basedSOKTAS – 2021 Crop
Soil Organic Carbon %%Skjemstad, J.O. Swift, R.S., & McGowan, J.A. (2006). Comparison of particulate organic carbon and permanganate oxidation methods for estimating labile soil organic carbon.

Soil Research, 44(3), 255-263. Nelson, D. W., & Sommers, L. E. (1996). Total carbon, organic carbon and organic matter. Methods of soil analysis: Part 3 Chemical methods, 5, 961-1010.

OutcomeTopsoil 0-15 cm results are as follows.

2019 avg -0432 %

2020 avg – 0893 %

2022 avg-1.267 %


Our deep heritage, combined with our commitment to creating the best, allows us to transform fibre into the fabric with care and inspiration.

This is the SÖKTAŞ story.

Future Of Fashion




Pınar Süt Şanlıurfa Plant

Pınar Süt’s Şanlıurfa Plant is the largest food investment in the Southeastern Anatolia. Şanlıurfa Plant is the only large-scale production facility in and around Şanlıurfa that utilizes modern and eco-friendly production technologies.

Direct Impact SDGs:

Aiming to improve the milk and dairy production industry and farming in the Southeastern Anatolia region, Pınar Süt took a step to establish the Şanlıurfa Plant.

Pınar Süt’s Şanlıurfa plant, which started its operations with a total investment of nearly 100 million TL, contributes to the development of the milk and dairy products industry in Türkiye and the cities in the region. With this investment accelerating dairy production activities in the region, Pınar Süt utilizes the milk collected from 10 different cities of the surrounding regions to produce long-lasting milk, ayran, yoghurt and cheese in its modern Şanlıurfa facilities that meet European Union standards.

The market size of the Dairy Product Consumption in the Türkiye is 776.509 tons in volume and 10.940.103 TL in value in 2021. As the premium brand of dairy market, Pınar has 12,7% volume share and 13,2% value share thanks to its wide product portfolio.

Dairy market in Türkiye includes seven main categories and have lots of subcatego-ries which are milk, cheese, yoghurt, ayran, butter, cream and kefir.

As the founder of UHT milk category, Pınar drives the market with its subcategories and maintains its market position since 1973. In addition to this, Pınar Dairy is the innova-tor of Pınar Labne, original reciepe, which gives its name to labne category included in spreadable cheese category. Pınar Labne is the leader brand in Gulf Countries as well, and has the highest awereness score.

In terms of competitive strengths, however there is a compelling competition in all categories, Pınar has lots of advantages written below.
➢ Healthy, innovative and tasty dairy products since 1973
➢ First UHT milk brand in Türkiye
➢ Strong ability of creating new categories
➢ Extended product portfolio with innovative products
➢ High brand awareness, well established brand image
➢ Most “desirable and premium brand” among dairy competition
➢ Highest “trustworthy”, “expert” and “quality” image scores among dairy competition
➢ High household penetration
➢ Wide distribution network with more than 150.000 sales points
➢ Powerful point of purchase displays
➢ Bonding with its consumers thanks to its effective communication campaigns

Pınar Süt contributes to the improvement of the dairy production sector with its annual raw milk processing capacity exceeding 90 million litres in its factory in Şanlıurfa.

Operating on an area of 100 thousand square meters, Pınar Süt’s Şanlıurfa Plant potentially creates an income source for 5,000 people to work in departments such as raw materials production, sales, transportation and packaging production.

In Şanlıurfa Plant’s latest generation automation production environment-friendly technologies that use minimum energy were preferred.

The “One Child Smiles, the World Smiles” project is organized with Velotürk, which was established to deliver bicycles to children in need across Türkiye and to encourage sports for a healthy life. By the organized project at Pınar Süt Şanlıurfa Plant for 2 consecu-tive years, a total of 300 children were gifted bicycles.

A commercial film with the message “Blessings to all of Türkiye!” was shot and broadcast on national, local and digital channels.

Within the scope of the “The Future of Our Milk is in Safe Hands” project, the train-ings with the contribution and participation of Şanlıurfa Provincial Directorate of Agricul-ture, Food and Livestock, Şanlıurfa Cattle Breeders Association and Gaziantep Dairy Pro-ducers Association were held at Pınar Süt Şanlıurfa Plant. By the project, training studies on “Animal Nutrition, Animal Health, Hygiene and Sanitation” were carried out together with Harran University Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Department of Animal Science and Ani-mal Nutrition and Harran University Faculty of Veterinary Sciences Department of Clinical Sciences.

The “Let’s Move with Fun, Let’s Eat Healthy” project was implemented with the aim of raising healthy generations and carried out in cooperation with the Ministry of National Education General Directorate of Basic Education.

“Pınar Children’s Theater” and “Pınar Children’s Painting Workshop”, which are long-term projects that will leave a healthier and more sustainable physical-social environ-ment to future generations for a livable world and a quality life, and contribute to social development, were also held in Şanlıurfa. The “Children’s Painting Contest” event receives continuous applications and participation from Şanlıurfa.

Pınar Institute was deemed worthy of the Awareness Award at the Women-Friendly Brands Platform for the trainings it provided to women producers within the scope of the “The Future of Our Milk is in Safe Hands” project, which it has been carrying out since 2014.

“Türkiye’s Most Admired Companies” Award With the award it received in 2021, Pınar Süt, which maintains its leadership in the industry by consolidating its brand image and aware-ness, proved once again that it is the “Most Admired Company” in its field. The Company received this accolade in the “Milk and Dairy Products” category of the “Most Admired Companies in the Business World” survey conducted by Zenna Research and Consultancy under the leadership of Capital Magazine in 2021.

In the Top 100 in the List of “Türkiye’s Top 250 Companies by R&D Spending” Pınar ranked among the top 100 in the “R&D 250, Türkiye’s Top 250 Companies by R&D Spending” survey conducted by Turkishtime Türkiye (Economy and Business Culture Por-tal). According to the 2021 data of the Turkishtime Türkiye R&D 250 survey, the Pınar Süt R&D Center ranked:
· 3rd among the top 10 companies with the highest R&D spend in the food in-dustry,
· 65th in terms of the number of projects carried out at the R&D Center,
· 17th in terms of the number of brands registered by the R&D Center.

“Women-Friendly Brand Award” for Pınar Süt received the Awareness Award at the Women-Friendly Brands Platform for the training provided to female producers as part of the “Future of Our Milk is in Safe Hands” project conducted by Pınar Institute since 2014.




BEE’O Propolis

Professional Food Engineer Dr. Aslı Elif Tanuğur Samancı, Agricultural Engineer and  Beekeeping Specialist Taylan Samancı and Prof. Dr. Dilek Boyacıoğlu established BEE’O Propolis as  a start-up in 2013 to initiate domestic propolis production with the “Contracted Beekeeping Model”  for the first time in Türkiye. 

Direct Impact SDGs:

The success story of BEE’O Propolis started with Tanuğur’s efforts to find alternative ways to  boost his son’s immune system. Relying on many scientific publications, Tanuğur found that royal  jelly contains many proteins, carbohydrates, fats and vitamins while propolis, collected by bees from  plant stems, leaves and buds, has strong antibacterial and antioxidant effects. Together with his  husband Taylan Samacı and his professor Dilek Boyacıoğlu, she established the BEE’O team to find  methods to utilize these natural ingredients which offer natural alternative support to medical immune  boosters. The project was started with 10 beekeepers 8 years ago at İTU Arıkent with the support of  KOSGEB and today BEE’O is working with 5000 contracted producers and 550,000 beehives. 

BEE’O Propolis has been producing 100% natural products in the form of propolis, royal  jelly, raw honey, pollen, bee bread and mixtures containing bee products, spray, syrup, tablets and skin  care products.  

Currently, BEE’O’s products, with the brand BEE’O Propolis, are on their e-commerce site  “www.beeo.com.tr” and at over 15,000 retail outlets such as Migros, Macro Center, Joker, Rossman,  Gratis, Carrefour Gourmet in Türkiye. Products under the brand BEE’O UP are also available in 35,000  pharmacies.  

In the USA, BEE’O’s “BEE&YOU” brand line products are sold through their own e commerce site www.beeandyou.com, as well as at Amazon, Walmart, E-bay, CVS pharmacy chains  and 3,500 retail outlets. The products are further exported to numerous other countries including  South Korea, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, England, France, Austria, United Arab  Emirates, Qatar, Cyprus and Saudi Arabia.  

BEE’O was established by a women entrepreneur who further formulated a women  dominated team. It inspires women to not only participate as a labour force in the Turkish economy  but also to take an initiative on their ideas and establish their own start-ups. 

 BEE’O’s system of production and the line of service is completely transparent. In this sense,  BEE’O prioritizes the protection of both nature and bee existence. To ensure the sustainability of  nature combined with the happiness of the consumer, BEE’O gathers together an expert team of 30  people consisting of Food, Agriculture and Chemical Engineers, Pharmacists, Biologists and  Dietitians. 100% natural BEE’O propolis, which is patented and rewarded by Tübitak as an innovative  propolis extraction method, contains at least 3 times more active ingredients than similar products on  the market. Additionally, BEE’O ensures that none of the final products contains added sugar, oil,  additives or preservatives.  

BEE’O was deemed worthy of 38 different national and international awards in a period of approximately 8 years. Some of which are listed below.

• Borsa İstanbul, Private Market 2014 Fastest Growing New Startup Company Award (KOBİ Award)
• ITU Arı Teknokent BEETECH Award ITO Teknokent BEETECH Intellectual and Industrial Property Rights, Incubation Firm Category
• XII. Technology Awards – TÜBİTAK-TTGV-TÜSİAD Innovation Award Micro-Scale Firm Process Award
• KAGIDER, Economist Magazine and Garanti Bank – Türkiye’s Women Entrepreneur Award
• Design Week Türkiye Design Award
• Denizli Business Women’s Association – Innovative Business Women Award
• Turkish Exporters Assembly Stars of Export E-Export Champion
Türkiye Entrepreneurship Summit Money Entrepreneurs Award Ceremony- Türkiye Entrepreneurship Summit E-Commerce Award
• TIM Türkiye Exporters Assembly – Inovalig 2017- Türkiye Innovation Leaders 2nd in Innovation Results 23.JCI TOYP Türkiye 10 Successful Young People of Türkiye
• Business World Economy and/or Entrepreneurship Category 1st- International Young Leaders and Entrepreneurs Association – Türkiye’s Top 10 Most Successful Youth Award
• Elele Avon Women’s Awards Entrepreneur Category – Entrepreneur of the Year Award
• 2nd Istanbul Economic Summit – Istanbul Golden Values Award – Innovation Category Awards
• 5th Sustainable Business Awards- 5th Sustainable Business Awards – Sustainable Innovation
• Kosgeb 5th SME and Entrepreneurship Awards- Innovative Entrepreneur Award
• IBS Awards – Beeo Propolis Royal Jelly Hambal Child Friendly Product Award
• İnovaLİG 2018 Certificate of Excellence
• IBS Beeo Up Syrup with Propolis Mothers’ Choice Product of the Year Award- IBS Awards – İBS Mother Baby Child Fair – Child Friendly Product of the Year Award 2018
• 2020 – TOBB Türkiye’s Fast Growing Companies – Türkiye 100 competition 5th place
• SUCCESSFUL EXPORTERS AWARD CEREMONY 7th in 2017, 10th in 2018, 7th in 2019 – Istanbul Exporters’ Association
• 2020 Women Entrepreneur Award-Entrepreneur who Adds Value to Human Award

• Winner Certificate – SBS Bilim Bio Çözümler San ve Tic AŞ – 3rd Place in the 1st Euro MedHackathon Eco Efficiency in the Agro-Food Chain (EU-Funded Project Med Spring – Jordan)
• Winner Certificate – Mustafa Bayraktar – 3rd Place in the 1st Euro-MedHackathon Eco Efficiency in the Agro-Food Chain (EU-Funded Project Med Spring – Jordan)
• Apimondia World Bee Keeping Awards
• America Sofi Awards New Product Category 1st Place
• Natural Products Insider – The 2018 Supply Side Editor’s Coice Awards Finalist- Antioxidants: Bee&You Propolis Raw Honey Cough Syrup
• Natural Products Insider – The 2018 Supply Side Editor’s Coice Awards Finalist- Children Products: Bee&You Propolis Royal Jelly Raw Honey for Kids
• Eco Excellence Awards – Nutrition: Raw & Fermented Food, SBS Americas Inc Propolis Raw Honey USA-California
• Eco Excellence Awards – Wellness: Alternative Remedies, SBS Americas Inc Royal Jelly Raw Honey for Kids USA-California
• Gamechanger Awards- Best New Brand
• Gamechanger Awards- Best Tech Innovation
• Gamechanger Awards- Best Game Changer
• Nutra Ingredients Awards – Finalist Editors Award for Innovation – Anatolian Propolis in Geneva!
• 46th Apimondia 2019 – International Beekeeping Congress (APIMONDIA 2019)
• Sustainable Food Awards
• Euro Woman Business Awards- Eurowoman Global Businesswomen Forum “Business Award
• London International Honey Awards- London Honey Awards
• London Honey Contest Gold Medal- London Honey Awards
• London International Honey Awards Bee & You Raw Chestnut honey – London International
• Honey Awards – Results 2021 – SBS Americas Inc. Quality Awards 2021 Gold

BEE’O Propolis: 

 BEE’O Propolis works with the “Contracted Beekeeping Model”, which is an eco-friendly  business model. With the “Contracted Beekeeping Model” that protects beekeeping and bees, we  make a significant contribution to the protection of green vegetation in the world and sustainability in  food production. With “Contracted Beekeeping Model”, BEE’O collect 1% of each of products sold  in a fund and send it to beekeepers as equipment. Thus, BEE’O enable all of our contracted  beekeepers to grow their businesses. With this model, we contribute economically to the beekeeping  industry in our country and also to the ecosystem. In addition, with the innovative bee products we  produce, we touch people’s lives and provide healing. 

AK Portföy – Domestic Production: 

Göktürk Işıkpınar, Deputy General Manager of Ak Portfolio, said the following about the Ak  Portfolio GDP investment: “The fact that our country is the second-largest producer of bee products in  the world pointed to a great opportunity for us to achieve value-added production in this sector. At this  point, the fact that BEE’O Propolis is a company that can compete in the global market by making  100% domestic production, with the vision and effort of its founding partners, with the support of  DCP’s capital and knowledge, has been an important factor in our investment. BEE’O Propolis also  produced “Anatolian Propolis”, which has unique nutritional and protective qualities from the  endemic vegetation of Anatolia, and became a company that competes with its value-added products 

in the global market with its exports to 17 countries and has achieved a tremendous success story. We  are proud to be a part of this success story with the investment of our fund and to be a part of the team  that will carry this success story further by aiming to grow BEE’O Propolis 3 times more in the next  five years. We aim for BEE’O Propolis to rise to a leadership position in the global market as well as  in Türkiye.” 


Emine Sabancı Kamışlı, Vice Chairman of Tikad Investment Board and Deputy Chairman of  ESAS Holding; “Women’s participation in the economy and the workforce is of great importance.  Unfortunately, there is a very serious difference between men and women in the labor force  participation rate in our country. Only 3 out of 10 women can participate in employment. In order to  evaluate such an important potential and add it to the economy, we should work more together with  the state, civil society and private sector. As TIKAD, we established TIKAD Investment to support  women and pave the way for women’s entrepreneurship. With our investment fund, which can be  described as a lifeline given from woman to woman, we aim to support women entrepreneurs and  increase the number of women who own businesses in the business world. In this context, we  supported BEE’O Propolis and its founder Aslı Elif Tanuğur Samancı by investing in her to expand  her brand and business capacity. We were encouraged even more by Ak Portfolio GSYF’s investment  in BEE’O Propolis, which we believe will achieve significant success abroad as well. We will  continue to provide opportunities for more women entrepreneurs and to work to increase women’s  entrepreneurship in our country.  


Kürşat Ceylan, Gökhan Meriçliler, Sadık Ünlü together with Young Guru Academy and  Vestel, invented a smart cane for the visually impaired. WeWALK team aims to enhance the mobility  of 253 million visually impaired people around the globe.

Direct Impact SDGs:

WeWALK team’s story had begun much earlier than the idea of inventing a smart cane for the  visually impaired. WeWALK’s co-founding team met during university times at a social impact  NGO called YGA. They had workshops and camps with more than 10.000 visually impaired  students and visited many global visually impaired NGOs together. They listened to visually  impaired communities’ problems, got their insights, and worked to develop technology-based  innovations to these problems.  

Their experience in developing visually impaired technology spans over 10 years, from the audio  description in movie theatres to an indoor navigation system reaching hundreds of thousands of  users and won several prestigious awards. 

The WeWALK smart cane’s story began when co-founder Kursat Ceylan was traveling  across New York City. Ceylan, who’s been blind since birth, was speaking at the United Nations’  Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and, while making his way from the  airport to his hotel with his suitcase, smartphone, and traditional white cane in hand, collided  with a pole, causing him injury. 

As a WeWALK team, they wanted to address these challenges and started by asking: How might  we develop a new white cane for the smartphone era? What if a white cane could bring all of a  user’s mobility apps into one seamless experience? What if it included voice control and a  touchpad so that the user could control their phone directly from their cane, keeping their other  hand free to carry suitcases or open doors? What if it had ultrasonic sensors and vibrated when  it detected a low-hanging object? What if it came with a companion app that enabled the white  cane to improve over time with a simple app update?  

So, they wanted to come up with a radical solution that would solve all these problems with  one device and reach all visually impaired around the globe, and finally together with Vestel,  they developed WeWALK. 

WeWALK Smart Cane provides a much safer and more independent mobility experience to the  visually impaired community, with it scutting-edge tech an AI. 

By equipping the white cane with modern technology and providing a fully accessible,  custom-built navigation experience, WeWALK improves the safety and independence of the 

visually impaired, allowing them full and equal participation in everyday life. WeWALK  smart cane’s ergonomic attachment fits on top of any white cane and, using its inbuilt  sensors, touchpad, and voice interface. 

WeWALK can detect above-ground obstacles by using a front-mounted ultrasonic sensor,  warning the user with vibration feedback. Pair with the WeWALK Smartphone app using  Bluetooth to access connected mobility services, including navigation, exploration, and  public transport, all controlled through the WeWALK smart cane. 

There are 253 million visually impaired people globally, with 50 million being cane users. This yields a  global total addressable market of $17.5 billion for visually impaired assistive technologies, and a  serviceable addressable market of $2.3 billion for mobility-specific technologies, including canes. The  total addressable market is expected to grow to $23.2 billion by 2023 (16% CAGR). 

So far, WeWALK smart cane’s accessible technology solutions have reached out  to thousands of users from 59 countries. 

According to the estimates of the World Health Organization (WHO), worldwide, there are  about 253 million people with visual impairments, many of them use a traditional white cane to help  them get around.  

White canes are a valuable tool and the symbol of independence for visually impaired people, but it  hasn’t changed in 100 years, and unfortunately, it is untouched by technology. Everything else has  changed dramatically with technology; we have been talking about flying autonomous cars. so  WeWALK team asked themselves: why not the white cane?” And WeWALK was born by leveraging  cutting-edge tech, voice technology, and AI driven by our own lived experiences.  

WeWALK accessible technology solutions have reached out to thousands of users from 59  countries

The WeWALK team also initiated the ‘Let’s Walk Together’ project with the support of the  Ministry of Education to deliver smart canes to 1000 visually impaired high school students during  this year, and all visually impaired middle and high school students in Turkey within the following 2  years. 

Further, all the production process of WeWALK is implemented within Turkey. Thus, it not only helps  the visually impaired but also contributes to the national economic growth and know/how inside the  country to allow other entrepreneurs to learn and establish their own responsible initiatives. 

  • It is named as one of the most important inventions of 2019 by TIME magazine.
  • It is recognised as ‘Startup of the Year’ at the Amazon Launchpad Innovation Awards 2021
  • It won the Gold Award at the Edison Awards, previously won by Elon Musk and given in honour of Thomas Edison.
  • It was the only Turkish startup selected for the “AI for Good” presented by Microsoft for technologies that shape the future.
  • In 2020, it was shown among the ideas that changed the world by Fast Company and win the “World Changing Ideas” award.
  • It was chosen as the best start-up by Plug & Play at CEATEC, one of the most important fairs in Japan.
  • It was featured in more than 300 different news stories in 30 different languages. In addition to important news sources such as CNN, BBC, Forbes, it was also reported in Bloomberg, The Times, Reuters and Nasdaq in 2021.

Vestel IoT, Cloud and Automation Deputy General Manager Burak Savak 

“It is aimed to design a product that will fully help end users by understanding their needs,  not the industry’s. In other words, there has been a process that goes from end-user to product, which  is unusual in the industry.” 

Metin Salt, General Manager of Vestel Ventures 

“As the Vestel Ventures team, we met the founders of WeWALK before their company was  even established. As Zorlu Holding, we worked together with the WeWALK team to ensure that  visually impaired people participate fully and equally in social life in all processes from the idea stage  to the production and sale of WeWALK devices.”

Elazig Integrated Healthcare Campus/ First “Green and Social Bond” for an infrastructure project in Turkey

Elazıg Integrated Health Campus Project has been proposed by the Ministry of Health as part of the Public-Private Partnership projects to serve Elazıg and surrounding Provinces. Project aims to provide efficient access to a full range of high-quality healthcare in a single location to a population of about 600,000 people, with 1,850 among doctors, nurseries, technicians, and administrative personnel.


Health Care

Direct Impact SDGs:

Elazig Integrated Health Campus Project is consists of the design, construction, financing and maintenance of an integrated health campus with 1038 beds, serving the 4th healthcare region of Turkey. The concession contract with the Ministry of Health of the Turkish Republic is comprised of a three-year construction phase followed by 25 years of operation. Hospital also has the following;

  • 6 blocks
  • 2 helipads
  • 131 intensive care units
  • 304 polyclinics
  • 39 surgery rooms
  • 1871 carpark capacity

The Elazig Integrated Health Campus Project will be realized by the Ministry of Health on an area of 356.000 sqm in the Central district of Elazig with the Public Private Partnership model and will serve Elazig and surrounding cities.

Elazığ City Hospital has increased easiness to the access to health services and quality. Based on surveys conducted among patient and patient relatives, favorability and satisfaction level of the hospital by community is more than 80%.

The hospital provided new services to the city as well. For instance, Medical Genetics Language and Speech Therapist and Polyclinic-Robotic Walking services introduced to the city for the first time with the establishment of the city hospital.  The hospital’s new health centres also attract people who prefer city hospitals. These centres serve not only the residents of Elazığ, but also those living in nearby cities.  Four secondary emergency services in the emergency department of the city hospital brought much relief to the problem of the city’s emergency services. Also, the average waiting times for services such as X-ray, MRI, blood tests and imaging services in the provinces, and waiting times for outpatient clinic appointments have been shortened with the Hospital.

One established indicator of the project is its effect on employment. Job opportunities from the Elazig Hospital project began with its construction and continued at the operation. At its peak, 5,000 people were working at the site and about 1500 by SPV and total Ministry of Health, about 4100 during operation. About 40% of the current employees are women, which is a high proportion for Eastern Turkey and about 90% local employment has been provided.

As noted above, as well as its positive impacts for providing good health in parallel with (SDG 3) Good Health and Well-being and Partnership for the Goals (SDG17), its impacts seen at the crisis situations.

One test of a hospital, especially in an emerging economy, is its ability to manage a health crisis. For the Elazig Integrated Health Center, there were two crises in rapid succession in 2020: an earthquake and a pandemic. Together, Elazığ IHC demonstrated the important ongoing role that a well-equipped, well-managed hospital can play in a community – not just helping recover from a crisis, but preventing it from escalating, with well managed and a large-scale partnership between the public and private sectors, and a local focus on quality and preventative care.

The earthquake took place on January 25, 2020. It was a 6.8 magnitude shock in eastern Anatolia, with an epicenter just 30 miles from the hospital. Many buildings collapsed, trapping dozens of people under the rubble. More than 40 people were killed, and about 1,600 were dead. Elazig Hospital had been built to withstand earthquakes, and became critical for treating many of the injured people.

Two months later, the Covid-19 pandemic reached Turkey, and the hospital system was tested again. This time, Elazig Hospital became an ongoing coordination point for response and community prevention.

In terms of SDG3,

Elazig Integrated Health Campus (IHC) is Meridiam’s third public private partnership in the country’s health sector. The Project provides efficient access to a full range of high-quality healthcare in a single location to a population of about 600,000 people, with 1,850 among doctors, nurseries, technicians, administrative personnel and other staffs employed in the campus with bed capacity of 1038 that is consist of 888-bed main hospital, a 300-bed Women/Maternity and Pediatrics Hospital, 60-unit mouth and dental health centre and all of the necessary support buildings and facilities.

The Elazig IHC is one of around 20 major hospital developments planned through a major programme of expansion and modernisation of health facilities that developed by the Ministry of Health  in Turkey.

Elazig IHC contributes to achieve universal health coverage and access to quality essential health-care services for all and strengthening the country’s capacity in managing national and global health risks.

The health campus contributes to achieving universal health coverage and access to health services by:

  • Adding 1038 hospital beds to the country’s total. This represents 0.45% of the country’s total.
  • Welcoming close to average 1,800,462 patients annually (hospitalizations including visits), with an average bed occupancy of 62% (pre-COVID pandemic)
  • Serving not only Elazığ city, but also eastern Anatolia region and the smaller nearby cities Diyarbakır, Malatya, Muş, Tunceli and Şanlıurfa
  • Introducing digital or virtual health services, reinforcing the innovative aspect of the health center by strongly using IoT technologies compared to the other hospitals in the country.

In terms of SDG17,

  • For more than 30 years, Turkey has been utilising the public private partnership (PPP) model which brings financial and technical capacities of private and public sectors together through joint initiatives. In Turkey, the PPP model is mostly employed in transport and healthcare sectors. Elazığ IHC is a part of the Turkish Healthcare PPP program developed by MoH that encourages the development of modern health facilities and the provision of world class healthcare services, as 5th PPP project of its kind in the sector & in the country overall.
  • For the Elazig Integrated Health Campus Hospital PPP Program, the design, construction and operations are managed by a 28-year concession held by ELZ Saglik Yatirim A.S (SPV). The consortium consists of Meridiam, Rönesans Holding, and S.A.M. Yapi Sanayi ve Ticaret Ltd. as shareholders.
  • SPV issued bonds to obtain funding from international lenders while undertaking the design, construction, operation and maintenance of Elazığ IHC and operates the hospital since 2018 successfully in terms of 18 services, in good cooperation with Administration.
  • Construction and operation of Elazig’s Integrated Health Centre have followed Meridiam’s environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) requirements, in line with performance standards of MIGA, EBRD and the World Bank. Setting the framework for this, a comprehensive Environmental and Social Action Plan and Stakeholder Engagement Plan have been implemented.
  • The Elazig IHC stands apart from other PPPs, due to its being the first developed project through an innovative financing structure featuring a ‘green and social’ project bond in Turkey. The project bond has been certified as Green and Social by second party approver, Vigeo.
  • Equipped with world-class cutting-edge isolators, the Elazığ City Hospital is able to seamlessly carry out all its operations, even during and after the most severe earthquake scenarios.


The health sector is an important element of Meridiam’s strategy of investing to make a positive difference to people’s lives. Through proactive public-private partnerships, investment in hospitals and other health facilities is bringing benefits of local economic and social development, as well as raising standards and boosting the efficiency of healthcare. Serving not only as a landmark in the transformation of Turkey’s healthcare sector, as Turkey’s first project bond, Elazig is also expected to catalyze Turkey’s nascent capital markets sector for infrastructure funding.

Turkish Grameen Microfinance Program (TGMP)/ Microcredit Support for Women

Microcredit support which aims to assist financially challenged women in order for them to  engage in income-generating activities on their own has included more than 200 thousand  women micro-entrepreneurs into economic life under Turkish Grameen Microfinance Pro gram (TGMP).  

Moreover, TGMP creates a social impact of TRY 4 with the utilization of TRY 1 based on  Microcredit Social Impact Analysis. Hence, social impact equal to TRY 581,937,084 has  been reached by disbursing TRY 143,688,169 of microcredit to 36,799 micro-entrepreneurs  in 2020. 


Direct Impact SDGs:

Microcredit application for the financially challenged was pioneered by Nobel Peace Prize  Laurate Muhammed Yunus and has started to be implemented in Türkiye in 2003 under the  leadership of Aziz Akgül, Founder of the Turkish Foundation for Waste Reduction . Turkish 1 Grameen Microfinance Program is Türkiye’s largest microfinance institution. It is non-profit  microfinance organization founded in 2003 with a joint venture between TİSVA and 2 Grameen Trust . TGMP has taken the lead in providing financial services to women living in 3 poverty all around Türkiye. The organization currently operates out of 65 provinces from 94  branches across Türkiye.  

TGMP’s aim is to improve the economic and social conditions of low-income families  throughout Türkiye by providing them with appropriate financial services, small business  skills and encouragement in a financially sustainable manner.

Turkish Grameen Microfinance Program (TGMP) is a microcredit support initiative which  aims to reduce the financial distress experienced by financially challenged women as well as  support their micro-initiatives. 

The five person group dynamic is implemented in the microcredit system and no personal  documents are required from the micro-entrepreneur except their identification card. The  organization does not ask for guarantees or securities in advance from the micro entrepreneurs using microcredit and enforcement or court proceedings are not pursued in any  case. Women with very low or no income are always deemed more vulnerable and preferred  for microcredit approval. The philosophy of the microcredit system is that credit is a basic  human right and while commercial banks disburse credit depending on the securities and  guarantees provided, microcredit program is based on giving microcredit to the human being.  The amount of the guarantees you provided determine your credit limit when you are  applying for credit from a commercial bank while the philosophy of “the less you have the  more priority you have” is followed in the microcredit system. 

There is a variety of maturity options and different types of credits such as Startup Credit,  Operational Credit, Basic Credit, Development Credit, Entrepreneurial Credit, Growth Credit  and Social Development Credit. In addition, TGMP offers different services to micro-entrepreneurs such as Mini Insurance, Mini Housing Insurance and a Voluntary Savings Account. 

Day to day operations are aimed to be accomplished by using the latest trends in information  technology as much as possible in Turkish Grameen Microfinance Program. POS devices  were being used in repayment collection and they were replaced by the NFC technology (col lection by mobile phone) in 2013. QR system (repayment collection through tablets) was  adopted in 2020 which dramatically reduced the overall waste of paper. An automatic SMS is  sent including the collection amount and remaining debt for the confirmation of the collection  so that the system can operate reliably. 

The system that is in place provides a 100% repayment ratio which commercial banks cannot  achieve even with the lowest amount of credits services. 

Microcredit application that was pioneered by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Prof. Muhammad  Yunus has been officially launched in Türkiye by the President of Türkiye Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Diyarbakır on 18th July 2003. 

Demand for microfinance services can be understood from the perspective of micro and small  businesses that seek access to capital in order to fund their operations and growth as well as  poor households that desire access to savings deposits, microinsurance and other financial  products. Microfinance sector in Türkiye is still in its early stages despite this demand. 

Turkish Grameen Microfinance Program (TGMP) was founded in 2003 and is present in  nearly all provinces of Türkiye. TGMP is one of the largest microfinance organizations in the  Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and a field partner of Grameen Trust. Micro-

credits distributed by the program has recently exceeded TRY 1 billion 260 million . Turkish 4 Grameen Microfinance Program still actively provides microcredit support to more than 45  thousand low-income women in 65 provinces.

TGMP’s main objective is to alleviate poverty by increasing the financial inclusion of women  through providing microfinance. The analysis evaluates TGMP’s impact on shareholders  which includes our micro-entrepreneurs, partners and municipalities that we have a partner ship with. All stakeholders were asked what the initial outcome has changed in their life in  order to identify the well-defined outcome. Seven positive well-defined outcomes have been  identified.  

  1. Social Network: Experienced by 78% of stakeholders  
  2. Increase in purchasing power: Experienced by 79% of stakeholders 
  3. Improvement of family relations: Experienced by 60% of stakeholders 4.
  4. Being respected by others: Experienced by 67% of stakeholders 
  5. Increase in self-confidence
    1. Increase in financial literacy: Experienced by 83% of stakeholders
    2. Increase in emotional wellbeing: Experienced by 85% of stakeholders
    3. Increase in vocational wellbeing: Experienced by 76% of stakeholders
  6. Increase in quality of social life: Experienced by 49% of stakeholders
  7. Being able to cope with financial problems: Experienced by 72% of stakeholders
  1. Prof. Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank were both awarded the Nobel Peace  Prize in 2006 for their work to “create economic and social development from below”. 5 Grameen Bank’s objective has been to grant financially challenged people small loans on  easy terms. TGMP continues its microcredit activities in Turkey and it is inspired by this  system as a field partner of Grameen Trust.
  2. Turkish Foundation for Waste Reduction was deemed worthy of the “Outstanding Ser vice Award” by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey in 2009.
  3. Cover of Time Magazine dated March 24th 2008 presented the microcredit system  amongst the “10 Ideas That Changed the World”. 6
  4. “Woman Power for Economy Project” which TGMP is running in cooperation with  Turkcell won the IPRA Grand Prize and it was voted as the most successful corporate  social responsibility project in the world at the 2013 IPRA Golden Globe Awards.
  5. In 2019, Turcomoney Magazine awarded TGMP Non-Governmental Organization of the  year.
  6. Kybele Documentary Film was awarded by ÜNSPED Women’s Leadership Develop ment Committee, Buyernetwork B2B Business and Trade Platform 9
  7. Kybele Documentary Film was accepted to the “The Women’s Voices Now Film Col lection” platform on August 6, 2021
  8. At the 18th International Ethno Film Festival – The Heart of Slavonia Film Festival-, Kybele film was awarded the “Bronze Heart of Slovenia” in the Best Film category.
  9. Kybele Documentary directed by Orhan Tekeoğlu was deemed worthy of the social life  award in “12th Film Educational Film Festival”; also known as “EDUKINO” Film Festival.
  10. Kybele Documentary was deemed worthy of the honor award at the “12th Film Educa tional Film Festival” in the briefing on December 9, 2021.
  11. Kybele Film Documentary was announced as the 2021 award winners of the In ternational Istanbul Nartugan Film Festival, after the Dhaka Film Festival, held on 13-16  December 2021


Aquamatch is a Turkish company that produces sustainable water solutions for emerging  markets. Established in 1989, Aquamatch is the leading provider of water treatment and  wastewater reuse systems in Turkey.


Direct Impact SDGs:

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is most water stressed region in the world; over 60 percent of the population live in areas of high or very high-water stress. The majority of economic output in the region is also produced in high water stress areas. Recognising the need for more reliable and quality water supply, Aquamatch has expanded its reach to this region, as well as South Asia, initiating wastewater and desalination water treatment projects to produce clean water.

Aquamatch is a Turkish water treatment company and the leading supplier of mem brane technology for industries such as Power Plants, Food & Beverage and Heavy Industry. Besides system manufacturing and installing, Aquamatch is also a keen supporter of ecologi cal development and transnational knowledge sharing projects. Aquamatch employs R&D approach that allows company to build sustainable and smart water systems for businesses and communities.

Aquamatch is active in 34 countries and four continents.With over 300 employees in total, Aquamatch is one of the most prominent suppliers of water purification projects in Europe and the Middle East. Aquamatch Executive Office is in Istanbul and the factory is in the southwest province of Turkey, Aydın.

To better serve these communities, Aquamatch transformed its business model to be more in line with the SDGs, ensuring social and environmental factors are included in its in its impact and needs assessments, adopting a circular business model and integrating low in come communities as workers and beneficiaries.

In November 2018, Aquamatch joined Business Call to Action with a commitment to provide clean drinking water to water-scarce communities and hire low-income youth to cre ate local jobs in the villages where their factories operate. In Turkey, Aquamatch employs 53 low income individuals. Half of these are young men below the age of 29, and two-thirds come from nearby low income villages. According to a 2018 Workers Satisfaction Survey, Aquamatch was the first job for two-thirds of its factory workers. Recognising the life-chang ing impact that regular employment can bring, Aquamatch aims to hire a further 20 young people in its Turkey factories by 2022. Further in all the areas where it operates, Aquamatch engineers provide aftersales technical support to educate the local stakeholders on how to use the systems, and works with local engineers to install its systems.

Aquamatch also is a full supporter of gender equality with more than 50% of the management team, executive board, and engineers being women.