CSOs, Universities and Public Institutions Join Forces with Young Entrepreneurs to Fight coronavirus/Covid-19 in Turkey

The first “Coronathon” was organized in Turkey on 21 and 22 March, 2020. The event was organised fully on-line and free of charge, bringing together civil society organisations (CSOs), public institutions, universities, and young entrepreneurs. The main objective of this 48-hour event was: to develop innovative solutions to challenges of social and logistic nature; to cultivate ideas in different areas to support the fight against the coronavirus/Covid-19.

Under the slogan “Be Part of the Solution”, participants were expected to find solutions to challenges in three main categories:

  • Social Solutions: Psychological support, mental health, time spent at home and challenges related to social isolation, information pollution on social media, physical activity, social responsibility etc.;
  • Logistics Solutions: Access to food, healthcare equipment, volunteering;
  • Other Solutions: Unemployment or cash-flow challenges by companies, challenges related to continuity of education, etc.

“I believe that we will come up with many innovative and creative solutions that we need in this period of unity and solidarity” said Sure Köse Ulutaś, Coronathon spokesperson and Talentmelon co-founder during the event.

Habitat Association, Turkey Informatics Foundation, Technology Development Foundation of Turkey were among 12 CSOs that participated in the event and were supported in this initiative by Boğaziçi University, Bosphorus University, METU University, Istanbul University, the Ministry of Industry and Technology, and technology companies. A total of 40 institutions were involved in the organization of the event.

Dr. Oğuzhan Aygören, Coronathon, Turkey Initiative’s Spokesperson & Bogazici University Entrepreneurship Centre Director said: “Maybe for the first time in world history, we are all fighting a common enemy. It is exciting to use solutions that we are developing here all over the world and have the opportunity to produce bigger effects. We are very thrilled with Coronathon and that in such short time, we were able to bring together stakeholders, such as public institutions, private companies, CSOs, around a joint platform.” 

The event attracted 1,500 contestants, whose teams had the opportunity to receive one-on-one mentoring and assistance from more than 120 distinguished mentors. At the end, 12 projects were awarded prizes in the Coronathon Turkey. The highest score was achieved by Medibook, a tele-health initiative that enables provision of health service, through remote visual monitoring models to patients who are not able to be admitted to hospital but need to receive health services.

Participants from civil society included Turkish Informatics Foundation, Habitat Association, Başlangıç Noktası (Starting Point), Technology Development Foundation of Turkey, Turkey Accelerator Lab, Endeavor Turkey, Entrepreneurship Founding, Ashoka, Imece, Hello Tomorrow Turkey and Atölye.