This article is written by Jeremiah Uke, a Contributor Author at Startup Istanbul.
Hanzade Dogan Boyner, is a leading figure in Turkey’s online and digital world, a pioneer of e-commerce in Turkey, she founded and has led Hepsiburada.com to become the biggest online retailer in the region, she has a robust experience in building businesses and growing startups, she was a guest at Startup Istanbul 2016 and was interviewed in a fireside chat by Christopher Schroeder, who is an American entrepreneur, advisor
He is the author of the recent bestseller, and the first book on startups in the Arab World, Startup Rising — The Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East
Hanzade Boyner is a Turkish businesswoman, serial entrepreneur, and philanthropist, she founded Hepsiburada.com in 1998, an online retailer that offers over 2 million products in more than 30 categories, ranging from fashion to electronics, cosmetics to books and home appliances to furniture. With more than 5,000 suppliers, selling over 2,000,000 products a month, Hepsiburada.com has become Turkey’s Amazon.
Hanzade is a leading personality in the digital world and a pioneer of e-commerce. She is the founding Chairwoman of Turkey’s leading internet holding company, Doğan Online, the largest online corporation in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa region. She is also Vice Chairwoman of Doğan Burda and Doğan Holding, one of the top industrial conglomerates in Turkey operating in the energy, media, industry, trade, insurance and tourism industries and the Chairwoman of the Doğan Media Group, which includes Hürriyet and Posta, Turkey’s highest-selling daily newspapers.
Hanzade has been voted the ‘Most Successful Woman in Business’ in Turkey on several occasions, by the Gazi University Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Bosphorus University, Istanbul Technical University, and Yildiz Technical University.
Hanzade started Hepsiburada.com at a time when technology was still a new thing to the world and the ecosystem in Turkey was yet to come alive, being the first person starts E-commerce, overcoming the inertia even when it has not been done before taking a lot of courage. During her session at Statup Istanbul 2016, while talking about how she has sustained the business over time, she mentions keeping the company’s strategies and upholding the “customer first” culture, adding that decisions are not made due to daily metrics or happenings.
Hanzade also lays emphasis on being a female leader in the Tech space which is well dominated by males, she mentions that she believes that global peace can only be achieved when there is true gender equality and is worried about the number of girls who do not have access to school and also girls who get married underaged, this led her to establish the “Dad Send Me to School” campaign, a social mobilization movement, which aims to remove economic and cultural barriers to education for young women in Turkey.
To date, the campaign has granted 50,000 scholarships and built 33 girls’ dormitories across the country and resulting in nearly all school-age Turkish girls now being enrolled in school. Hanzade mentions looking for initiatives to solve other existing problems relating to women such as women work participation being just 20% in the region, also women in technology being a global problem.