Business: NemFlora - Healthy Microgreens
LIFE Cohort: 1st Cohort, Istanbul
Home Country: Turkey
Ahmet first left his hometown of Erzurum to start university in Istanbul where he majored in labor economics, with a special interest in entrepreneurship. Although he enrolled in an entrepreneurship executive training course while in university, Ahmet truly built the skills he viewed as crucial for his success when he started mountain climbing as a sport. “It added a lot to my creativity and capacity when it comes to entrepreneurship…In this period I did a lot of personal development and learned how to survive with very little resources.” When deciding what to produce as an entrepreneur, Ahmet settled on the food sector because he wanted to produce something that is healthy, “there is nothing more beneficial and healthier for people than healthy food.”
He was two years into working in the agricultural sector when he was first introduced to the LIFE Project. “I had just started and was looking for funds, I found the application form for the LIFE Project incubation program and applied.” He found it to fill a gap in the support provided to entrepreneurs in Turkey, “at that time, there was nothing in Turkey about food entrepreneurship. I think the LIFE Project introduced this concept to Turkey.” For Ahmet, “instead of entrepreneurship being just a hobby, participating in the LIFE Project strengthened my belief in myself and the way that I’m viewed in my circle. They believe that I am an actual food entrepreneur.”
Ahmet participated in the first LIFE cohort in Istanbul and hopes to see the LIFE project expand beyond Turkey to create networks of food entrepreneurs across the Middle East and Europe. For more established entrepreneurs such as himself, the LIFE Project aims to support Ahmet build his network to expand market access and meet potential investors.
For now, Ahmet is planning to register his business – healthy microgreens called ‘NemFlora’ – and benefit from Turkey’s laws and tax cuts that aim to encourage entrepreneurs under the age of 30 to establish registered businesses. “I am already doing sales, we are selling online and face-to-face. I am promoting it as presents in the shape of letters where you can choose the letter of the person you love and give it as a gift. We are one of very limited businesses who are implementing this idea.” But he has bigger goals. Ahmet is looking to start an angel investment business to help entrepreneurs in the agricultural industry who are just starting out, as well as increase the reach of his own product. “We are planning to sell from Amazon and we are looking for investors.” For Ahmet, “being in the same atmosphere where I can be with people from Syria and Iraq adds to the success of my business,” because, “food means culture.”