Accelerate2030 Turkey: Mobilizing partnerships for Global Goals

Accelerate2030 Turkey: Mobilizing partnerships for Global Goals

Accelerate2030 Program in Turkey is the best practice for the collaborations undertaken to understand the concept of social entrepreneurship, which is relatively new in Turkey, and the strengthening of the social entrepreneurship ecosystem. The program sets an important example as it is the only one that aims to address social entrepreneurship in Turkey, to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals and to scale up the impact across different geographies. The program also sets a successful example in cross-sectoral relations between the private sector (Anadolu Efes), social entrepreneurs (Impact Hub Istanbul) and a development organization (UNDP Turkey).


– Anadolu Efes.

In 2020, Impact Hub Istanbul, UNDP Turkey, and Anadolu Efes won the Corporate Social Responsibility Award in the category for ‘Best Partnership for Goals’ in light of excellent standards in collaborative work – based on their collaboration within the Accelerate2030 program. The partnership among Impact Hub and UNDP in Turkey paved the way for other partners across different sectors to join forces and provide a real-life example of a multi-stakeholder collaboration for the Sustainable Development Goals, including entrepreneurs, large companies, consultancies and the development sector. 

Here is what we can learn about partnership building from their experience:

Founding the partnership on clear expectations and synergy of expertise.

Cansu Öner, Accelerate 2030 National Programme manager explained that Impact Hub Istanbul and UNDP Turkey built their collaboration on a foundation of clear expectations. The lines of communication remained open all throughout, always including one another in decision-making processes. 

Approaching partners as a united front.

In terms of funding, even though UNDP Turkey was not able to financially support the program, they played an active role in joint resource mobilization, by reaching out to stakeholders and potential funders, identifying specific grant opportunities, and lending their credibility in the process.  When it came to mobilizing the broader private sector, the Impact Hub and UNDP joined forces and approached partners speaking about Accelerate2030 as a joint programme and about how together they were inviting other partners to join. 


Engaging larger companies in the partnership.  

Through this joint approach, the program attracted large companies, such as the Turkish brewing company, Anadolu Efes, Europe’s fifth and the world’s tenth largest brewer in sales volume. Besides sponsoring the program, Anadolu Efes took an active role, collaborating with the ventures, supporting and purchasing their products, and inviting the entrepreneurs to their headquarters to present their ventures to larger audiences. Furthermore, Anadolu Efes used the program as an employee engagement opportunity, providing exposure  for their employees to connect with the programme’s entrepreneurs serving as an inspiration to its own staff, and additionally providing expert mentors to the Accelerate2030 programme. They also opened a few visibility opportunities for the Impact Hub, and arranged interviews with a well-known Turkish journalist, Ayşe Arman. 

Further Interest from the Community.

Cansu Öner, Accelerate 2030 National Programme manager, explained how eager the Istanbul community was to get involved in the programme:

“We received a lot of further interests from other people and organizations who wanted to attend our events, take part in the mentors network, provide training, contacts, and help our ventures grow their businesses; it was really a country-wide approach! We had a huge community involved in the program. The ventures all say that they feel the program is still ongoing – The support that we, Impact Hub Istanbul, and our mentors or experts provided never had an end date- this has built up a great movement.”

Further support to the programme came through the Boston Consulting Group’s pro bono offer to work one on one with the Accelerate2030 entrepreneurs. They work closely with the entrepreneurs on their scaling roadmaps, providing insights to prepare the ventures with European market entry reports.

Leveraging Events and Media to promote the Goals and Role Models.

At events such as the Social Good Summit in October 2020, the UNDP put together an Accelerate2030 panel, highlighting “the importance of strengthening a multi stakeholder approach and collaborations towards achieving the global goals”. For both partners, the opportunity to reach different stakeholders be they the public, businesses, or international organisations meant that they were able to shed light on the power of social entrepreneurship in its potential to contribute to the SDGs and to economic and national goals. See all the local media appearances at the bottom of the blog.

Successful Entrepreneur Story.

Biolive is a Turkish biotechnology company  producing and selling antimicrobial and antioxidant bioplastic granules made from olive seeds. They were supported through the National Scale-Ready phase of the program in Turkey and were later selected as a global finalist, receiving support in the Global Scaling phase of the program as well.

“The biggest difference of the program is it is a training process and not a contest. As a company, we learned to work in a more planned manner for the Sustainable Development Goals, and how to tell our story through the lens of the Global Goals. Thanks to Accelerate2030, I now advocate for and consult on sustainability with my customers and investors in Turkey.” 


—Duygu Yılmaz, Co-Founder and CEO of Biolive

Partnerships for the Goals.

In summary, through the partnership, Impact Hub Istanbul and UNDP Turkey were able to:

  • Leverage each other’s far reaching networks during the campaign phase, thus mobilizing interest from the entrepreneurial and business community for the SDGs.
  • Join their expertise in various topics ranging from climate to resilience to disaster response, and most of all, impact generation for the ventures. 
  • Mobilize keynote speakers at events, and training in impact measurement from UNDP’s regional office. 
  • Promote entrepreneurial role models for the SDGs through events, newsletters, and media, thus showcasing that entrepreneurship and business have an active role to play for the SDGs.

As a result of these strong partnerships, the Accelerate2030 program has been strengthened, it has brought the private and public sectors closer together and to social entrepreneurs, and overall it has generated much excitement for the next generation of Accelerate2030 entrepreneurs. 

Local start-ups that applied to the program gained visibility, and the UNDP endorsement helped us immensely. The program is very unique, and the international element of Accelerate2030 is incredibly powerful: it puts the program at a different level across all other start-up support programs.”

—Cansu Öner, Impact Hub Istanbul, Turkey

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