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Entrepreneurial activity in Turkey: A statistical overview for the years of 2006-2020


Objective: The objective of the article is to understand the development of Turkish entrepreneurial activity over the last 15 years.

Research Design & Methods: The research design employed in this article is a quantitative one, mainly by utilizing the data available from Global Entrepreneurship Monitor and Eurostat to map the structure and the development of Turkish entrepreneurial activity between 2006 and 2020. With respect to gender, age and education status of Turkish self-employed, the article also employs a chi-square test of association.

Findings: The main empirical results of this article identify that whereas the overall share of self-employed among the active Turkish population dropped from 24% in 2006 to 17% in 2020, this is not only above the EU-27 average, but also largely due to a drop in the share of own account workers. The article highlights that over the duration of 15 years, the share of job creators among the active Turkish population remained stable despite all the negative events occurred in Turkey. The article also identifies a gender imbalance in terms of self-employment, and a significant difference between educational background of own account workers and job creators.

Implications & Recommendations: Understanding the patterns of development of Turkish entrepreneurial economic activity in the last 15 years can serve as a point of departure for both entrepreneurship researchers and policymakers. For entrepreneurship researchers, the case not only allows for a cross-national comparison, but also delivers empirical evidence from a transition country. For policymakers, fluctuations in the number of own account workers deserve more attention whereas stability of job creators can be further analysed for understanding what makes this group particularly stable despite all the negative events that occurred over the last decade.

Contribution & Value Added: The study contributes to the literature by offering a current overview of Turkish entrepreneurial activity in the last 15 years. Since the literature on Turkish entrepreneurship is primarily dominated by topics such as students’ entrepreneurial intentions, women entrepreneurship or migrant entrepreneurship, the study offers empirical evidence to see the bigger picture of Turkish entrepreneurial economic activity.


Entrepreneurial activity, self-employment, Turkey

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Author Biography

Mustafa Toycan

Mustafa Toycan is the secretary general of Bahçeşehir Cyprus University. His research interests include entrepreneurship, fintech and blockchain economics.

Burak Erkut

PhD in product innovation and market shaping from the perspective of evolutionary economics, 2018, TU Dresden, Germany) is a full-time member of the Faculty of Economics, Administrative, and Social Sciences of Bahçeşehir Cyprus University as well as a fellow of Institute for Research in Economic and Fiscal Issues (IREF). His research interests include evolutionary economics, innovation, and entrepreneurship.


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