Meet the Members: Umut, A Turkish Entrepreneur Pursuing Organic Farming

Name: Umut Öcal
Business: Organic Farm
Cohort: 3rd Cohort, Mersin
Home Country: Turkey

Growing up in Diyarbakır, Turkey, Umut Öcal studied mathematics in Ankara before discovering his real passion in organic farming and climate change. Umut moved to the Caribbean for a six month training program in organic farming and then, upon returning to Turkey, launched his own farming business with a team of three employees. 

Joining the LIFE Project provided Umut with formal training in entrepreneurship in the Turkish context and a network of like-minded entrepreneurs in Mersin to connect with. He continued to develop his business venture throughout the program, eventually winning his cohort’s Business Pitch Competition. 

After winning the Business Pitch Competition, Umut noticed that the motivation of his team increased. “As a team, we realized that we need to grow even more. We included an Agricultural Engineer and an Organic Agriculture Controller in the team and specialists in the field.”

In addition to hard business skills, Umut noted that his participation in the LIFE Project helped him develop his confidence and ability to network with other entrepreneurs and potential investors. To other entrepreneurs looking to start a food business in Turkey, Umut’s advice would be: “It's a very difficult process, the main thing is to believe in an idea and then tell the people around you.”

Are you interested in Umut’s story or see potential in his business as an investor? Email the LIFE Project to be connected at [email protected].