Received 99Percent 2012 Award

“The Courage to Create a Business” design-driven entrepreneurship and innovation concept was designed in 2008. Since then, I have been teaching the concept in Bogazici University and Bilgi University MBA programs. Ever year, I have added different components to the concept based on student’s feedbacks as well as my experience in the market.

The concept basically covers three dimensions: ecosystem, entrepreneur and idea.  In the ecosystem module, we focus on realities on entrepreneur’s country and whether they are aware of the “start-up game”. In the entrepreneur module, Instead of telling who the students should be, this concept encourages students to understand who they are and discover their own entrepreneurial patterns.  The concept of creativity in this module is based on developing creativity through acting. In the idea module, the methodology is design-driven idea development. Here, we use design thinking methodologies from Stanford D.School  to develop the projects.

A picture from design-thinking workshop-idea development

The class evaluations showed that the concept is quite succesfull and encourages students to start their own businesses. 4.91 out of 5 of students would like to take a similar class. Other comments can be found here.

The entrepreneurship class has been received international recognition. In May 2012, It was awarded the99Percent fellowship by Behance Network in New York because of its innovative approach. It is featured in GOOD Magazine and recognised by IDEO. It was also the theme of DMI Night Out  in September 2012.

For questions, please send an e-mail to info at

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Design can Save the Planet by Award-winning Journalist Simran Sethi

Simran Sethi an award-winning journalist and associate professor at the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications will be our guest speaker on May 7th, 2012.  She will talk on sustainability and design driven approach for entrepreneurs which are quite challenging topics in emerging markets.  I believe, her talk “Design can save the planet” will guide us on our way towards building sustainable and environmental friendly businesses.

Simran has an impressive background.  She currently teaches courses on diversity, sustainability and the environment, and social media for social change at University Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

She was named one of the top ten “eco-heroes” of the planet by the UK’s Independent and lauded as the “environmental messenger” by Vanity Fair and an “environmental woman of impact” by Daily Variety, Simran has contributed numerous segments to NBC Nightly News, CNBC, PBS, “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and “The Today Show” and has appeared on MSNBC, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “The Martha Stewart Show,” and the History Channel. Simran is the founding host/writer of Sundance Channel’s environmental programming The Green and the creator of the Sundance online series The Good Fight, highlighting global environmental justice efforts and grassroots activism. She is committed to a redefinition of environmentalism that includes voices from the prairie, the inner city and the global community.

Simran is the contributing author of “Ethical Markets: Growing the Green Economy,” winner of the bronze 2008 Axiom Award for Best Business Ethics Book. She has written about sustainability for The Huffington Post, Metropolis Magazine, Mother Earth News,, and the Guggenheim Museum. She has been featured on NPR and is the host of the Emmy-award winning PBS documentary “A School in the Woods.”

Simran has presented at institutions ranging from the Commonwealth Club and the Poynter Institute to M.I.T.; keynoted conferences including the 140 Character (Twitter) Conference, Bioneers by the Bay, the Green Business Conference and the North American Association For Environmental Education conference; and moderated panels for the White House sustainability symposium GreenGov and Clinton Global Initiative University. Simran is a fellow in the Poynter Institute’s Sense-Making project, a Ford Foundation-funded program that is studying the integration of new media and democratic values.

Simran blogs at and can be followed on twitter at @simransethi

The talk will be at 8pm at Bilgi University Santral Campus @ room E3 – 216 on Monday May 7th, 2012. Please follow me on twitter at @gulayozkan for the updates

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Necati Özkan, Founder and President of Oyku / Dialogue International

Necati Özkan is a senior entrepreneur and definitely a first-timer in several areas in Turkish business world.  During our lunch meeting,  I was delighted to learn the way that he designs his businesses. His talk in our entrepreneurship class will cover his entrepreneurial experiences as well as his future projects.

He is founder and president of Öykü/ Dialogue International;a creative agency with offices in Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey. He is also co-founder of KapitalMedya which is one of the leading B2B publishing house and FikriMuhim, which is the first Word-of-Mouth Marketing Agency of Turkey. He is also managing partner of NeoBiz Digital Agency.

He graduated from Military College, studied law at the Ankara University and marketing at ODTU.Mr. Özkan has published numerous articles about marketing, destination marketing and political marketing. He is author of4 different books, titled “Election Winner Campaigns“, that analyzes the successful political campaigns of Turkey, titled “Leadership Secrets of Obama”, that analyzes lessons of 2008 US Presidential campaigns and books titled “Election Time 04 and Election Time 05”. Mr. Özkan is the vice president of EAPC (European Association of political Consultants).

He blogs at & and can be followed on twitter at @necatiozkan

Necati Özkan’s talk will be at 8pm at Bilgi University Santral Campus @ room E3 – 216 on Monday March 26th, 2012. Please follow me on twitter at @gulayozkan for the updates

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Design Entrepreneur Engin Erdogan, Founder of Itemology, X- IDEO Consultant

We start 2012 Spring class at Bilgi University MBA program with our guest speaker Engin Erdogan from New York City,US. Engin is a NY based entrepreneur. He recently founded his company Itemology, an early stage web service startup, where users create visual logs of personal belongings for friendly social commerce.

Prior, Engin worked at the innovation and design consulting firm IDEO for over 5 years, helping some of the largest corporations in the world change. His clients included Ford, AT&T, Microsoft, HBO, Apollo Group, Gannett, Marriott, and GS Home Shopping. His work at IDEO resulted in new products-services, new companies, and patents.

Engin holds a Master’s degree in Digital Media from Georgia Tech and a BSc in Civil Engineering from Yildiz Technical University in Istanbul.

The talk will be at 8pm at Bilgi University Santral Campus @ room E3 – 216 on Monday March 5th, 2012. Please follow me on twitter at @gulayozkan for the updates

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

An Entrepreneurial Shift in Culinary World from Turkey

 Mehmet Aksel is a serial-entrepreneur and the founder of Mutfak Sanatları Akademisi (MSA-Culinary Arts Academy).  He was recently awarded the 2010 International Endeavor “Entrepreneur of the Year” award. The academy has over 2000 graduates nationwide who went on to join professional kitchens or become chefs, even on international arena. More than 20,000 kitchen enthusiasts walked through MSA’s doors to learn and appreciate the art of cooking.

His enthusiasm paved way for MSA to be one of the most important culinary schools of Europe.  People in the industry think that the schools like MSA will found the basis of the values that will carry Turkey to where it really deserves to be in the Gastronomy world.

As an entrepreneur, Mehmet stands out with his result-oriented and passionate character. In the class, he will talk about his ventures and  his strong entrepreneurial perspective which has brought him a big success.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Dick Spring, Former Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland is the first guest speaker of 2010 Fall Class

Dick Spring

We are delighted to have Dick Spring, Former Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland and Executive Vice-Chairman of FEXCO as the first guest speaker of 2010 Fall class.  Ireland has been a success case in the world where many incubation centers and techno-parks are formed to foster the entrepreneurship eco-system.  There have been several tax programs to support the innovation  and attract multinational technology companies to launch their EMEA HQs in the country. Mr. Dick Spring as an important figure of Ireland has been witnessed  this transformation in the country. As the Executive Vice-Chairman of FEXCO, he has experienced the business world from technology company perspective after his successful political career. Mr. Spring will talk about business world from macroeconomic perspective which is mostly missed by entrepreneurs. Mr. Spring will also mention his experience at the latest economic crisis which affected Irish economy heavily.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Entrepreneurship from different perspectives by Ziya G. Boyacigiller

Ziya G. Boyacigiller, Investor/Entrepreneur/Mentor makes early-stage investments in innovative technology-driven start-up companies (in Silicon Valley and Istanbul) and works with the founding teams to help grow their companies (USA: Formative Ventures, Aeroprise, FusionOps… Turkey: AirTies, Artesis, Vistek,…).  He is a consulting member of Endeavor Turkey, Golden Horn Ventures, and Inovent. He also teaches MBA students entrepreneurship, at Sabanci University, Istanbul.  He is the co-president of the National Innovation Initiative/Financing of Innovation workgroup in Turkey.  Until October 2000, he was a Business Unit Vice President / General Manager at Maxim Integrated Products – a NASDAQ 100 semiconductor company (MXIM).  Mr. Boyacigiller joined Maxim in 1983 when the company was started, as a founding partner, and served in various technical and executive management capacities for 17 years, helping build the company to over billion dollars in revenues.  Prior to Maxim, he worked at Intersil Inc. and designed state-of-art mixed-signal CMOS integrated circuits, including the world’s first digitally calibrated 14-bit data converters. In the late 1970s, he started E/Z CAD Inc., a pioneer in the PC-based electronics design tools industry.  Mr. Boyacigiller holds an MSc in Engineering from UCLA, and a BSEE from Bosphorus University, Istanbul.  His current mission is to help to create and develop a world-class, technology-based entrepreneurship environment in Turkey.

Ziya G. Boyacigiller is an important figure in Turkish entrepreneurship “market”. We are happy yo have him as a guest speaker in our class.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment