On 19 October 2022 Sustainable Growth Program implemented by Hackquarters in partnership with HSBC and WWF hosted its 3rd Demoday. Sustainable Growth Program, first initiated in 2020, is a is a 6-month startup acceleration program for social entrepreneurs focusing on increasing Climate Action and aiming to raise awareness for the climate initiative and startups in Turkey and region, strengthen startup and technology impact in ClimateTech and increase commercial impact enforcing global network of investors, climate organizations and corporate partners.
The program, which started with the speeches of Kaan Akın, Hackquarters, Selim Kervancı, HSBC, and Aslı Pasinli, WWF, continued with panels by alumni startups MAPLA Biotechnology, Okil Natural Construction Materials, Kybele’s Garden, Köstebek, Momentum R&D, Salty Energy, Sumatrix BioTech, Plankton Marine Technologies, and Airqoon.
In his opening speech Hackquarters Founder and CEO Kaan Akın’s briefed about the details of the Program, Climate Action, and social entrepreneurship data. 350 startups have applied for the Program since 2020, and 31 were selected for the three batches.
HSBC Turkey's CEO Selim Kervancı emphasized that it is essential for the bank to work with entrepreneurs who support Climate Change. While talking about the actions HSBC is taking to tackle global warming, he added, "As HSBC, we aim to spread the use of clean technologies and raise awareness in this area to prevent our world from getting warmer."
Later, WWF-Türkiye General Manager Aslı Pasinli mentioned that many of the world's problems could be solved with entrepreneurs and the innovations they create and shared the uplifting news that awareness surrounding sustainability has increased in Turkey actions are being taken at the level of the Ministries. She added, that WWF prepared an action list for the upcoming government no matter which political party will win the elections, as the topic is beyond politics.
The Demo Day continued with three different panels by alumni startups.
In the Sustainable Consumption panel, moderated by Sabina Babayeva, COO at Hackquarters, Merve Atalay, Co-Founder at MAPLA Biotechnology, Burcu Kındır, Co-Founder at Okil Natural Construction Materials, and Aygen Savaş Alkan, Co-Founder at Kybele’s Garden shared what has been achived during the program.
MAPLA Biotechnology: “We got lots of valuable contacts and mentorship sessions throughout the program. Organic chemistry firms are interested in our products. We are focusing on the meetings with investors now.”
Okil Natural Construction Materials: “We learned a lot from the trainings, mentorships, and market access sessions. We are looking forward to expanding our business.”
Kybele’s Garden: “We launched our first product in the program. Our products are suitable for export, so we are considering accessing new markets. Market access sessions were highly beneficial for us.”
Following Sustainable Consumption, Waste Management and Energy panel, moderated by Yeliz Erinçkan, Strategy and Business Development Director at Sabancı Holding, hosted Müge Baltacı, Co-founder at Köstebek, Rahmi Erdem Yıldız, Co-Founder at Momentum R&D, Pelin Keleş, Co-Founder at Salty Energy.
Köstebek: “The network provided during the program was great. We are still in the negotiations with some of the partners. As Kostebek, we are looking forward to expanding our business globally; and screening the investment opportunities.”
Momentum R&D: “We built a valuable awareness thanks to the program. We realized that we are not just an engineering company, but a climate company fighting climate disaster. We had great mentors throughout the program, and the network is very helpful.”
Salty Energy: “In line with the mentorships and training they received, we presented environmental, safe, started investor talks with many big companies, and accelerated their investment tours.”
In the last session Restore and Promote Sustainable use of Ecosystems, moderated by Can Atacık, Partner at Alethina Impact. Rümeysa Sağlam, Co-founder at Sumatrix BioTech, İlkem Tünay, Co-founder at Plankton Marine Technologies, and Barış Can Üstündağ, Co-founder at Airqoon shared their feelings about the program.
Sumatrix BioTech: “Trainings and mentorship sessions were very valuable. Market access sessions were also excellent. Sumatrix started partnership with few big companies during the program.”
Plankton Marine Technologies: “While struggling with the climate crisis, more hardware products are coming to the market. During the program we get an opportunity to receive feedbacks from the global VCs. At the same time, we believe that attending panels on impact investing will increase out social impact.”
Airqoon: “We got valuable insights to raise awareness throughout the trainings. Mentorships and market access sessions were great. Networking opportunities helped us to improve our business.”
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