Second Mersin Business Pitch Competition

At the second LIFE Project Business Pitch Competition in Mersin, 24 food entrepreneurs from Turkey, Syria and Yemen competed to receive seed funding to start and scale their businesses.

Judges included Şükran İmral, Senior Chef at the Mersin Hilton Hotel; Elif Aksoy, Istanbul-based LIFE Project training manager for IDEMA; Omar el-Khouly, co-founder of coffee shop ŞamAğa; Mohammad Bahaa Nashar el-Naam, owner of bakery Soli Tatli; and Dr. Eric Fretz, professor at the William Davidson Institute (WDI) at the University of Michigan.

The winning pitches came from Hussein, a Syrian dessert chef with a kunefe business; Mahmoud, a Syrian entrepreneur who makes colorful pizzas; Meyas, a Syrian entrepreneur selling makdous; and Semira, a Turkish entrepreneur launching an organic food market with her sister.