Food Enterprise Center
The LIFE Project is anchored in food business incubators, or Food Enterprise Centers (FECs), that serve as hubs for training and business development support for refugees and host communities in Turkey.
The FECs’ commercial kitchens provide food production equipment for entrepreneurs in a shared space, encouraging peer learning and collaboration. The kitchens are primarily used for training purposes and as test spaces for product development by entrepreneurs, and are available for limited production use on an as-needed and space-available basis. Each kitchen is appropriately licensed and managed through a set of policies and procedures to ensure an optimal experience for the entrepreneurs.
Each FEC has an executive chef and a food engineer on-site to support and advise members in product testing, scaling production, food storage and sanitation, hosting and catering events, and practicing hospitality and customer service.
The LIFE Project established the first food business incubators in Turkey, in Istanbul and Mersin, to support food entrepreneurs at every stage of their business journey. The FECs foster collaboration and joint learning, harness other supportive elements of the food business ecosystems, and serve as hubs for gastrodiplomacy - people to people exchange over food - in their respective communities.
In addition to offering kitchen facilities and hosting the Entrepreneur Incubation program, the FECs serve as a hub for LIFE activities, events and follow-on support services.
Strategically located within Istanbul's burgeoning entrepreneurship ecosystem in Sanayi, the Istanbul FEC is easily accessible by public transit. The LIFE Project is housed in Inogar (Innovation Garage), an incubation center that combines innovation and enterprise culture with the private sector, sustainable development, and technology. With Google Dome and similar innovative co-working spaces just around the corner, LIFE Project members become a part of an exclusive community of entrepreneurs.
The Istanbul FEC features:
1200 square meters over four floors and two terraces
Commercial-grade kitchen with attached cafe seating
Office and co-working spaces
The Mersin FEC sits in the very heart of Mersin, a coastal city known for having Turkey’s largest seaport and for its position as a major export hub, especially for food. Located between the migrant and refugee populations of Carsi and Mezitli, the FEC is easily accessed by public transportation and is adjacent to office buildings full of potential customers for the entrepreneurs of the FEC and its planned cafe.
The Mersin FEC features:
1600 square meters across two floors
Commercial-grade test kitchen
Office and co-working spaces
Open space allocated to serve as a play area for children
Available to all members and graduates of the LIFE Project Entrepreneur Incubation program and to others for a fee, the FEC kitchens serve as a space for hands-on training, product development and production, and food preparation for events. All kitchens allow for various types of food production and are equipped with grills, flat tops, fryers, cookers, ovens, refrigerators, sinks, prep stations, a cleaning area and dry and cold storage. Multiple workstations allow several businesses to utilize these resources at the same time while keeping start-up costs low.
Classroom, Meeting, and Co-Working Spaces
FECs come fully equipped with functional space that can be used for LIFE Project activities and business support services as well as members’ own business needs.
LIFE Project FECs include multipurpose event spaces devised for different activities including workshops, pitch competitions, cooking demonstrations, dining events, and much more.
In addition to these amenities, our FECs include other features to further support LIFE Entrepreneurs and their communities, such as a terrace set up to support urban gardening in Istanbul and a childcare space in Mersin.