This is one of a series of articles published in the run up to International Women’s Day 2019 and celebrating our partners who are also leading women in business
Emine Çark, CEO of Turkey’s Ege PetroKimya, was working for a chemical company when she decided to launch her own business in 2011. From the backseat of her car, which was also her first office, the company has grown quickly to produce chemicals in a 4000m² factory and sell more than 63 different products to clients across the country. They have established regional offices and their own sales teams to reach clients directly as well.
“Building my business was not straightforward. I had to believe in myself even when none of my acquaintances believed in me, and I was working day and night even when I was 8 months pregnant.”
The company is based in Çorum’s industrial zone, a smaller city in the central northern part of Turkey. Emine obtained a loan from IşBank for the business under the EBRD’s Women in Business Programme that enabled her to purchase new equipment – crucial in capital-intensive sectors such as this to keep the business efficient and competitive.
She also pointed to numerous social obstacles that she had to overcome in such a male-dominated world.
“Women entrepreneurs have to face a particular set of challenges, especially in accessing finance and networking opportunities. Business reputation, credibility and determination are key to survival. In the chemical sector, customer loyalty is everything.”
Emine is now planning to make a sizable investment in a chemical mid-product in which Turkey is entirely import-dependent. She is in the process of fundraising to finance her investment, which will create significant employment opportunities for the local community andis also planning to improve Ege PetroKimya’s sales channels all over Turkey and finally expand into global markets.
Ege PetroKimya is one of the SMEs supported by the EBRD’s Women in Business Programme in Turkey. The Programme had provided finance and know-how to women-led businesses to over 18,000 women entrepreneurs in Turkey to date. The Programme engaged funding by the European Union, the EBRD and the Republic of Turkey from 2014-2017.