A two-day World Business Angels Investment Forum (WBAF), started on Feb. 18 in Istanbul, is hosting policymakers, entrepreneurs, representatives of financial institutions and companies, and hundreds of angel investors from all around the world.
The WBAF is an international organization aiming to ease access to finance for businesses from start up to scale up.
It is committed to collaborating globally to empower world economic development by creating innovative financial instruments for innovators, startups, and SMEs, the organization says on its website.
“The Forum interacts with leaders in all areas of society, first and foremost in business and political spheres, to help assess needs and establish goals, bearing in mind that the public interest is of paramount importance. It engages a wide range of institutions, public and private, local and international, commercial and academic to help shape the global agenda,” the website says.
This year, the WBAF 2019 was organized under the theme “Connecting angel investors with private equity funds to boost innovation.”
During the event in Istanbul, 110 speakers from 42 countries will give speeches in 23 panels, two masterclasses, and six international workshops.
Two deals signed
Two international agreements were already signed on Feb. 18 as part of the WBAF in Istanbul.
The WBAF, Kosovo’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Ministry and Ghana’s Business Development Ministry signed an economic cooperation agreement to boost start-up economy and innovation.
With the agreement, entrepreneurship and angel investment will be included in both countries’ action plans for 2019.
The agreement was signed by Kosovo’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Minister Besim Beqaj, Ghanaian Business Development Minister Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, and Baybars Altuntas, the chairman of the WBAF.
The other agreement, “The Implementation Agreement for the WBAF Master Plan for African Economies,” was signed between the WBAF and Ghana.
The agreement provides a financial road map for African entrepreneurs over the next two years.
Speaking at the WBAF event, Youth and Sports Minister Mehmet Kasapoğlu said that Turkey attaches great importance to supporting young entrepreneurs.
“Turkey has a youth, who will be able to establish serious enterprises in the future, as they did in the past,” he added.
Kasapoğlu stressed that many of the world’s leading companies were set up 25-30 years ago by one or a few young entrepreneurs.
“The world is in a constant process of development, and Istanbul is the center of the [Turkey’s immediate] region, which is a locomotive for economic development,” he said.
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, Croatia’s president, said Croatia has been attracting investors since 1993 and Turkish businesspeople have investments in the country.
“We see Turkey as an EU candidate country,” she said, adding that Turkey was an important partner to tackle common challenges such as the refugee crisis and terrorism.