Via cidpnsi – The devastating scale of the humanitarian crisis in Syria has internally displaced more than six million people and forced five million more to flee across the border into neighbouring countries. The experiences of these refugees have often been reduced to a single narrative where newcomers are seen as burdens on their host communities. However, a closer look at the capabilities and contributions of Syrian-owned SMEs operating in Turkey reveals ‘another side to the story’.
“In Turkey, as in the rest of the region, Syrians are starting businesses that are creating jobs, livelihoods, and independence for themselves and for other refugees. […] In addition to first-time refugee business owners, there are seasoned Syrian entrepreneurs who moved, along with their business expertise and capital, from Syria to other countries in the region, including Turkey. In the words of a Syrian business owner in Istanbul, “We are international businessmen. We have also been to Dubai and Riyadh. Syrians in Turkey are not just poor refugees.”
Since the Syrian Civil War began in 2011, Turkey has welcomed more than three million refugees. This massive influx has put considerable strain on Turkey’s infrastructure, public services, and the availability of jobs and affordable housing. However, many Syrian entrepreneurs have also established small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which help to offset the costs of the crisis. Syrian-led businesses have created new formal jobs in Turkey and stimulated the potential for growth, innovation, and enterprise for refugees and their host communities.
A recent market assessment funded by Global Affairs Canada and conducted by Building Markets found that Syrians have invested nearly $334 million into 6,033 new formal companies in Turkey since 2011. The typical Syrian-owned business in Turkey has been operating for 2.5 years and generates an average annual revenue of $463,201. On average, each business employs 9.4 individuals and over 50% of SMEs aim to hire in the next 12 months. In 2017, Syrians are expected to establish over 2,000 additional businesses in Turkey with approximately $90 million of Syrian capital.
This article was originally published by cidpnsi.