Billionaire Hamdi Ulukaya and his yogurt company Chobani are giving something back in the spirit of entrepreneurship that allowed him to strike it rich in the yogurt game. He's doing it by launching the Hamdi Ulukaya Initiative, which will provide training for young entrepreneurs in Turkey who are looking to get a leg up in their business exploits.
According to Forbes, the budget for the Hamdi Ulukaya Initiative (rendered as HUG in Turkish) will be $5 million over the next five years. HUG will accept applicants that are either A: Already running their own startups and looking to hone and refine their expertise, or B: Looking to turn their ideas into a successful business. In a recent tweet, Ulukaya tweeted a photo with HUG's first class of trainees, summing up the spirit of the initiative like this: "I came to New York with just a little bag, without knowing anyone. I wanted these (HUG) kids to come here the same way."
That first class includes 24 entrepreneurs, pulled from a pool of more than 3,330 applicants. They spent the first part of their HUG experience at an entrepreneurial "boot camp" in Istanbul, but in early July they arrived in New York City for almost three weeks of training in the United States. This training includes workshops at Chobani HQ, "professional development seminars" at NYU, and further curriculum in both New York and Boston. Two of the startups being supported by HUG include a mobile platform for children diagnosed with autism, and a beachwear brand with products made using handmade textiles from Turkey.
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