a partnership between Spark, Qatar Fund for

a partnership between Spark, Qatar Fund for Development, and Qatar Charity in organizing a conference "IGNITE Istanbul Conference"


Organized by the Spark Foundation, funded by the Qatar Fund for Development and implemented by Qatar Charity, a conference was held in Istanbul.

“IGNITE Istanbul” Where building business resilience during crises, digitization and methods were discussed.

Inclusive growth and promotion of entrepreneurship among youth in Turkey and Jordan.

The conference was an opportunity to further develop the solutions necessary to achieve strong economic growth in the region in the presence of thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and experts from various sectors, including the government and private sectors, investors, educators, and higher education institutions.

 The contributions of many successful startups led by women and refugees, investors and system partners were presented.

A representative of the Qatar Fund for Development, Ms. Alaa Abdel Wahab, participated in the conference. Development projects researcher, and general supervisor of the Qatar

Charity office in Turkey, Mr. Yousef Al-Hammadi, and the Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Program in Turkey, Ms. Louisa Fenton. 

The CEO of the Spark Foundation, Mr. Simon Van Melick, and many project owners and institutions.

Mr. Simon van Melick, CEO of SPARK, said: “Economic resilience is a lifeline, as it enables young people in part to withstand and succeed in difficult circumstances. For 30 years, SPARK has been doing this and today we would like to build on the achievements of this program.” We must We are building a strong economy whether in Turkey or Jordan, but also in Gaza.”

For this reason, the representative of the Qatar Fund for Development, Ms. Alaa Abdel Wahab, said, “With the support of the Qatar Fund for Development and in cooperation with Spark and Qatar charity, social development care has flourished among refugees and local communities in Turkey and Jordan. The achievements so far are supporting major companies during the fight against Corona and improving access to Funding Because we are in business, we look forward to

leveraging our unwavering commitment to working to create opportunities where dreams flourish and society succeeds.”

Mr. Youssef Al-Hammadi, General Supervisor of the Qatar Charity office in Turkey, said: “We are the angel that entrepreneurship does not mean working in trade only, the greatest increase in development opportunities for empowerment, in this program we have provided job opportunities for 1,100 young men and women.”

He added: “This program is a great achievement for us, as it will oversee the work with all participants, officials, partners, and beneficiaries, I would like to thank you for the technical support provided by Spark.”


Discussion sessions

The conference included three discussion sessions, and the first discussion session was titled Building Business Resilience During Crises and was presented by many lecturers, including Mr. Hussein Kabtan, Deputy Governor of Gaziantep, Ms. Louisa Fenton, United Nations Development Representative in Turkey, and Mr. Ishratullah, humanitarian projects expert at Qatar Charity. President and Mrs. Rasha Menna, General Manager of Flat6Labs.

The session discussed the impact of crises on companies operating in conflict-affected and fragile areas and solutions to support business resilience, create job opportunities for youth, and stimulate economies aftershocks.

As for the second session, it dealt with introducing digital opportunities for comprehensive growth, in which Ms. Gulbin Çalış Kanturk, Assistant Secretary General of the Gaziantep Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Sami Hourani, CEO of SouqFann, Nalan Kurt, founder of NLK Software, and Esra Özel Yongöler, spoke. President of the Sustainable Living Cooperative EkoDoku, and Rahaf Abu Mayaleh, Founder of 4Health EDU. The session discussed the importance of reducing the digital gap between youth, women, and refugees to ensure economic access for all.

Ms. Gulbin Çalış Kanturk, Assistant Secretary-General of the Gaziantep Chamber of Commerce, said: “In order to achieve real impact, we must focus on the primary goal, which is to create a sustainable impact in the long term, and we must be careful not to fall into the goal of establishing various activities.” Our activities focus on Gaziantep on vulnerable groups, such as the large number of refugees so far, we have 35,000 registered companies, 35% of which are owned by Syrians and both NGOs and government institutions must support both sides of the labor market.”

The third and final session discussed a group of emerging incubators that develop entrepreneurial talent in Turkey and Jordan and the skills that entrepreneurs need to withstand economic shocks, in addition to some of the organizational challenges faced by refugee entrepreneurs.

On the sidelines of the conference, the Director of Qatar Charity’s office in Turkey, Mr. Karam Zeinhom, said: “Qatar Charity is always keen to develop business and move toward supporting and sustaining projects that aim to build economic resilience for youth and business owners in Turkey and Jordan, especially in light of the economic and social challenges facing refugees.”

Subscribe Now

Subscribe to receive Qatar Charity Newsletter