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Economic Development > Season 03 > Meral Kekecoglu

Date: 23.03.2012 (Season 3 - Episode 11)

‘Bee-like' Entrepreneurs Are On Their Way

The latest episode of "Turkey's Changemakers" features Asst. Prof. Dr. Meral Kekecoglu, who helped enhance beekeeping activities in the Yigilca county of Duzce through establishing the Duzce University Beekeeping Research, Development and Application Center.

Upon completing her doctoral thesis on bee genetics and studying bees in 56 different regions of Turkey, Meral Kekecoglu discovered a special type of bee in the Yigilca County. She scientifically proved that Yigilca bees are highly productive in honey making due to the length of their legs and wings. Subsequently, she moved to Duzce and established the Duzce University Beekeeping Research, Development and Application Center with the support of the District Governorship, the Municipality and other public and private organizations.

When Meral Kekecoglu first came to Duzce in 2008, there were 30 families who were making a living by beekeeping. Believing in Yigilca's potential, she initiated a beekeeping project called "Together, We Can Achieve More". Kekecoglu organized meetings and courses to inform locals about beekeeping methods. She also visited women in villages were unable to attend courses personally, and for other villagers, she offered beekeeping courses in mosques, coffee shops and elementary schools. She recognized the need for a centralized education system for beekeeping, and initiated the establishment of an education center. In co-operation with beekeepers and the Duzce University, she established an education center in Yigilca that serves as a gathering place for beekeepers. A ‘Honey Production Forest' was established in order to support the feeding of bees. Kekecoglu also encouraged women and persons with disabilities to participate in beekeeping activities. A total of 207 individuals attended beekeeping courses, and 70 villagers, among whom 13 are women, received a beekeeping certificate. As a result of three years of Kekecoglu's changemaking efforts, 108 families are now making a living through beekeeping.

Meral Kekecoglu's success was honored with first place in European Commission's annual European Enterprise Awards in 2011. A total number of 399 projects from 29 countries competed in the competition, and "Together, We Can Achieve More" got first place in the "Developing the Entrepreneurial Spirit" section.

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