Turkish Chamber Wants 'Mutual Benefit'

Alp Levent, executive director of Turkish American Chamber of Commerce of the Southeast Tennessee, right, talks with Dr. Millicent Gray Lownes-Jackson at the grand opening of the Turkish American Chamber of Commerce's Nashville office., Jae S. Lee, The Tennessean
Turkish-Americans are hoping to build a bridge between Middle Tennessee and Turkish businesses with a new chamber of commerce that targets companies and students.

“This chamber is to increase interaction among businesses and educational institutions in Tennessee and Turkey. Our goal is to facilitate commerce and relationships,” said Murat Arik, chairman of the chamber’s advisory board. “We are different and have a much broader focus than traditional chambers that represent local businesses. We are looking to organize business trips and coordinate business match-making and bring business students to the table.”

Turkish-American Chambers of Commerce Southeast TN held its grand opening celebration on May 9. Members of other local chambers of commerce, representatives from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and academic officials were among those present at the chamber’s offices on Fourth Avenue North.

The Turkish chamber began in Atlanta in 2007. In four years, Georgia’s exports to Turkey rose 350 percent.

“We are going to do this in Tennessee in much higher volume,” said Mevlut Tascan, executive director of the Atlanta-based Turkish-American Chamber of Commerce of the Southeast U.S. The chamber has 11 chapters in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee and hopes to open a Knoxville office this year, said outreach coordinator Elif Sen.
Students reap benefits
The chamber boasts Turkey as the 16th-largest economy worldwide and the sixth-largest in the European Union, said Alp Levent, executive director of the Nashville branch.

The Turkish-American Chamber of Commerce is a nongovernmental and nonprofit organization. It is filled with Turkish-Americans who want to see their homeland and adopted country succeed economically.

Volunteers run the chamber and companies that benefit from its work donate a percentage of their deals to help the chamber operate.

“We don’t just concentrate on business but also on schools,” Sen said. “We want to get Vanderbilt and Belmont MBA students internships in Turkey and student exchange programs for undergraduate students.”

Students in Belmont University’s Massey School of Business visited Istanbul, Turkey, last year. Partnerships with Turkish businesses also may be a springboard for Tennessee corporations into Central Asian and Middle Eastern markets, proponents say. Source: www.tennessean.com.
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07