We are hunting Gazelles

While I was checking the updated 2014 data about SMEs in Turkey I saw that a significant change in our SME’s comparative performance indicators among EU countries (see figure below from SBA Fact Sheet 2014). This is not only due to evolving competitive climate for SMEs but also a change in scoring criteria which I presume now represent Turkish case better.

The same report also says: “Turkey has an excellent overall score in this area, far above the EU average and without any sub-par results. This puts the country amongst the best performers. Turkey does particularly well on entrepreneurial education thanks to a strong institutional support framework. Entrepreneurship is an integral feature of Turkey’s lifelong learning strategy, accompanied by an action plan which also addresses entrepreneurship in secondary education. This might explain why the country shows a higher rate of early-stage entrepreneurial activity than the EU.”

Good. Lets keep going….






By a definition made by Birch, Gazelle is a high growth SME which usually constitutes 3-8% of all industry, other SMEs are either life style businesses or surviving with no growth. In fact, the biggest contribution to the growth are coming from Gazelles. Criteria for high growth is somewhat different, OECD uses a definition of: “All enterprises up to 5 years old with average annualized growth greater than 20% per annum, over a three year period”.

We have about 34K small & medium enterprises (gazelle definition starts with 10+ employees). But we don’t know the proportion of Gazelles in this mass (it requires measurement of growth) in Turkey.


source: SBA Fact Sheet 2013

Another interesting piece of information in SBA Fact Sheet, is that our SMEs have far more higher performance on entrepreneurship among their EU peers, whilst they fall behind on almost all other criteria (think small first, internationalization, second chance,…).

Good, we have the spirit at least, despite all odds our founders strive to be the best. But the upsetting piece of information is at the measurement criteria of the entrepreneurship. We are falling behind EU average only at the “opportunity driven entrepreneurship”, which I believe this measure create Gazelles.

We should focus on both at macro and micro levels to create and support Gazelles. Opportunity driven business is one of the ingredients of the growth. The support mechanisms should be able to distinguish this parameter. Venture Capital, naturally seeks for growth and opportunities. We don’t like life style businesses, and it is a nightmare to have a lifestyle business in a portfolio. Therefore we are out of the steppes looking to hunt Gazelles.

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