15 November 2007
The successful development of European-Turkish Business Centres secured a coveted top spot for WYG International (WYGI) at this year’s British Expertise International Awards. The €16.4m scheme, WYGI’s first in Turkey and was one of the largest ever funded under the European Union’s Euro-Mediterranean Partnership programme, scooped the Open Award for Sustainability at the event which was held on 13 November 2007.
The project was established to achieve greater integration of Turkey with the EU by providing Turkish businesses with the knowledge required to compete successfully in EU and world markets and to create genuinely sustainable Turkish jobs. The main aims of the project included: the development and launch of three independent, self-sustaining Business Centres; providing support to SMEs through the provision of information and advisory services in management-related topics; and assisting SMEs in the internationalisation of their businesses.
The company was quick to acknowledge the fundamental role played by its Turkish counterparts, The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB), and the local directors and staff of the Business Centres themselves, stressing that it was the Turkish counterparts who were truly responsible for making a success of the programme. Working together, this partnership created three widely spaced regional centres, all of which were fully operational within eight months, providing a comprehensive range of support services to Turkish businesses, such as support for start ups, women entrepreneurs, internationalization and training.
Once the centres were operational, WYGI, TOBB, the European Delegation and Turkish business support organisations worked together to establish an overall framework for their sustainability. The result has been three centres that are fully independent legal entities under their own regional direction and ownership which have already serviced more than 11,000 companies and individuals and exceeded their target to assist 3,600 SMEs by almost 300%.