First Mersin Business Pitch Competition

In 2019, the LIFE Project expanded our entrepreneurship incubation program to Mersin, a port city in southern Turkey with a thriving food industry. At the Business Pitch Competition held for the first cohort, 23 entrepreneurs from Turkey, Syria and other communities competed to receive seed funding to start and scale their food businesses in Mersin.

Judges included Baris Baykul, owner of the local Betul Café; Ali Cem Umuler, local food entrepreneur; Firas Rahmoun, owner of a local chocolate factory; Abdulwahab Alkebsi, Managing Director of Programs at CIPE; Elena Rosenblum, Accelerator Director at Union Kitchen; and Elif Aksoy, Project Manager at IDEMA.

The winning business pitches came from Saleh, a Syrian entrepreneur with a sweets business; Shaker, a Syrian entrepreneur specializing in cheese maamul; Waad, a Syrian entrepreneur selling dates as healthy treats; and Zeinab, a Syrian entrepreneur with a natural plant extract business.