Seyhan Municipality Technology and Innovation Centre (SEYTİM)
Seyhan Municipality Technology and Innovation Centre (SEYTİM)
The project in brief
Seyhan Municipality - Türkiye
September 2021 - Ongoing
The project is being carried out with own resources of the Seyhan Municipality. The project idea was awarded a prize in the “Youth Friendly Cities Idea Competition” organized by the Union of Municipalities of Türkiye. The project will continue as long as it is undertaken with municipal resources and its sustainability is provided by the Municipality.
SEYTİM aims to help young people of all nationalities spend their free time in a positive way, to contribute to their development, to provide guidance and counselling to youth groups, to raise awareness about harmful habits and keep young people away from those habits. The centre also aims to contribute to strengthening social cohesion between youth groups from refugees and the host community. In line with these purposes, SEYTİM organizes social, artistic, cultural, educational and sports activities, as well as historical and cultural trips and camps with the participation of persons from both communities.
For the economic growth and sustainable competitive advantage, there is a need for highly qualified young people who can innovate and manage technology. Therefore, technological innovation education remains a priority, especially for developing countries. Innovative perspectives are needed in order to overcome the education, health and employment problems of young people in Türkiye, to discover their potential and to increase their capacities.
In this framework, technological innovation activities that set an example for young people in the world and in Türkiye are evaluated, and a perspective is drawn for new practices that enable young people to participate in economic and social life in the country, contribute to the social innovation, and channel the potential of young people in the right direction.
Moreover, technology can be taken as a common tool to bring together young people from refugees and the host community. In this regard, SEYTİM provides services and assistance to everyone, regardless of religion, language or race.
Two factors are crucial in the successful and effective implementation of the project:
- The grant support provided by the granting institutions is the most important factor that ensures the implementation of the project.
- The presence of the Municipality with all its services, its capacity to reach people, connections and support with its personnel, facilities and other resources is of utmost importance for the implementation of the project.
Main activities of the Good Practice
Since September 2021, an incubation area, closed office areas, a co-working space, a digital FabLab, common meeting rooms, training and event areas and a quiet space have been opened in SEYTİM.
In addition, idea generation camps, hackathon, start-up weekend events, entrepreneurship trainings, mentoring support events for entrepreneurs, catalytic events such as MeetUp and Early Customers Meeting, investor and entrepreneur meetings, and art workshops have been organized.
For the development of youth groups living in the Seyhan region, robotic coding, astronomy and space sciences, science, creative drama, yoga, rhythm and visual arts, design, sports, music, e-sports, software, 3D modelling and printer operations, e-commerce, YouTube content creation and authoring, graphic design and project cycle trainings have been provided.
With the computer laboratory, young people have been given guidance about technology and innovation and supported to improve their qualifications in the areas such as software, game and graphic development, robotic coding, electronics and biotechnology, design, digital marketing (advertisement and e-commerce) and e-sports.
The social media, virtual reality and art studio has assisted young people to carry out activities initiated by themselves and to develop knowledge on content production.
At SEYTİM, research and development (R&D) studies have been conducted on computers, electric cars, smart agriculture, autonomous robots, energy conversion, robotics, underwater vehicles, and unmanned aerial vehicles. Additionally, R&D studies on materials for the use of people with disabilities have been carried out in the centre. The centre remains accessible to people with disabilities.
The centre serves also as an important tool to increase social cohesion between refugees and the host community. Particularly, the young people's common interest in technology provides a unique opportunity for social cohesion between refugee and local youth groups. For instance, e-sports teams established within the context of the project consist of multinational participants.
To respond to training and mentoring needs of entrepreneurs during the development of their business ideas, SEYTİM also serves as an office with its incubation centre. The area provides a working environment where independent professionals can communicate and cooperate with entrepreneurs and other stakeholders, and where new businesses ideas could be created. The area also brings together regional entrepreneurship ecosystem actors and entrepreneurs, including technology firms, investors and investment companies. In this way, SEYTİM supports the youth groups to develop their perception and a culture of entrepreneurship, thus proposes an alternative career opportunity for the young people.
SEYTİM offers opportunities which help young people to adapt to new technologies, support their creative skills, their access to culture, arts, sports, education and social services, thus contributes to the development of innovative and creative human resources.
By bringing young people together with other partners, investors and institutions, the centre contributes to increasing the qualifications of young people in the fields of innovation and entrepreneurship, infrastructure development and service models.
Moreover, SEYTİM supports young people to establish their own organizations and launch multinational initiatives, facilitates their engagement in the decision for SEYTİM’s activities, and provides trainings and guidance for the development and production of high value-added products and materials.
SEYTİM has on-going and close cooperation with several NGOs as well as state institutions. To name a few:
- Seyhan District Directorate of National Education
- Provincial Directorate of Industry and Technology in Adana
- Public Education Centres
- Çukurova University Techno City
- Adana Science and Technology Association
Challenges and how they were overcome
The supply of technological equipment has become difficult due to restrictions during the pandemic and the fluctuations of prices of required equipment.
How they were overcome
To overcome the challenge, the centre resorted to online methods which eventually allowed staff to improve their skill set and expand their reach. The centre is now much more active through its website and is in the process of starting a YouTube channel more suitable for an NGO working with youth groups.
Results of the Good Practice
Since the beginning of September 2021, more than 6,000 beneficiaries were reached and trained in many fields such as graphic design, robotic coding, programming languages, entrepreneurship, e-commerce, green wall, project management and 3D design at SEYTİM. Almost 3,000 of these beneficiaries are Syrians under temporary protection in Türkiye.
This number of people reached is over 10,000, considering the people who participate in other activities and trainings, such as visitors or participants of competitions.
Particularly, more than 3,000 young people participated in the e-sports competitions and tournaments. Half of the participants of the activities are Syrians under temporary protection, while the other half are from the local community.
SEYTİM is an opportunity for the Adana province to develop into a province exposed to new generation technologies such as smart agriculture, energy and manufacturing, industrial software, internet, graphics, animation, movies and games. The centre contributes Adana to become an entrepreneurship base in the digital creative sectors by supporting young entrepreneurs who want to develop business in digital creative sectors. SEYTİM does not only make efforts for developing qualified human resources for those sectors but also continues to offer offices that respond to the equipment and hardware needs in a shared and common way.
How the project meets the GCR Objectives
Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance
The objective of the project is to improve the self-resilience and increase education and livelihoods opportunities of young people both from refugees and the host community by facilitating their social and economic empowerment through innovative models.
- The centre and its beneficiaries will apply to organizations that provide grants in different fields.
- The centre will provide trainings on other professions which are considered as “professions of the future”.
- SEYTİM will provide trainings on “forgotten professions” and revive those professions with new and innovative technology. Those professions will thus be included in the economy and generate income for beneficiaries.
- SEYTİM will establish a library to serve as a common area for refugees and the local community.
Further support required for the project to continue or scale up
- Strengthening communication, coordination, and information and solution sharing between the actors of the entrepreneurship ecosystem (mentors, NGOs, private sector organizations, etc.),
- Increasing technical capacity with new grants by donors.
Burcu Çimen, Foreign Affairs Manager, Seyhan Municipality
Ergin Esendemir, Project Specialist, Seyhan Municipality