Can you spot an entrepreneur?

In a recent discussion someone bemoaned the lack of entrepreneurs in Turkey, quoting some mediocre percentage. On further investigation they were basing this on things such as patent registrations and high tech companies. What they appeared to mean was that there were not a plethora of Bill Gates or Steve Jobs!

As someone who sees Turkey as rife with entrepreneurs I could not let this assertion go unchallenged and for an example I told the following story.

My wife and I are in the process of moving apartments and this requires us to register for water and electricity. Having collected all of the documents that we thought we might need we headed first to the water registration building. Imagine our frustration when we discovered that we needed a thing called DASK which is a compulsory form of insurance.

Given that we had waited patiently for an hour for our number to be called, the thought of going away and then having to start all over again the next day was frustrating. But then the man dealing with us told us to see the man on security at the front desk who would direct us to where we could buy our insurance.

At this point I should state that, as someone that has lived in England for many years I was accustomed to tower block luxury buildings that housed insurance companies that would insure anything from a car to a church fete!

However, on reaching the security guard he called a man called Ahmet who was standing at the front gate. He led us about 100 metres along a dusty road to what could best be described as a shed with a glass front chatting all the while as if he had known us all his life!

In the ‘shed’ was Mehmet, a young man with a computer who was able to take the details from our apartment documents, and in minutes produce an insurance certificate and copies for electricity and water at the standard rate set by the government.

Rushing back to the water office the man we saw previously dealt with us immediately. Iin no time we were off to electricity with all of our documents plus our insurance copy having completed water registration.

What I witnessed with Mehmet was a man that could have opened an expensive office in the centre of town and tried to sell all sorts of insurance with all of the attendant costs. Instead he recognised that the water company would produce several people a day who became frustrated like me if they didn’t have their DASK!

So Mehmet decides that, rather than spend a fortune on offices and advertising, all he needs to do is find somewhere with a table, a chair and a laptop. Then he gets Ahmet to stand at the entrance to the registration building so make first contact with the frustrated people.. By doing this he has a guaranteed daily income that is probably significantly higher than sitting in an office in the middle of town and certainly one that is less stressful to obtain.

To me Mehmet is a real entrepreneur that saw an opportunity and went for it. So when you go out today look around and see the entrepreneurs around you. They may not always be high tech businesses, but then how important is it really for me to control my washing machine with a smartphone!

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