Bekir Çerkez is one of the beneficiaries of the “Şirketim” project, and he participated in the project in February 2020. He was born in Aleppo in 1984, and he is a primary school graduate. Now, he lives under the Temporary Protection Status in Sancaktepe with his family, including a wife and four children, and he runs a barbershop.
In Syria, he used to work as a barber, owning a shop for years. In 2014, because of the Syrian civil war, he and his family were obliged to leave their country. At that time, they had three children, Bekir, his wife, and children transit to Turkey through the Azaz district of Aleppo.
When he arrived in Turkey, he did not have any financial resources. Therefore, he was not capable of establishing his own business. Nevertheless, he preferred to work in the field of his profession and worked as a barber in another barbershop. After a period of time, he acquired the necessary financial resource and established his own barbershop in 2018. However, establishing a company demands more than leasing a shop, purchasing necessary machinery equipment, and opening it every morning. There are rules and regulations which every entrepreneur is obliged to comply with. Although he established the company, he struggled to comply with related rules and regulations. This situation generated a constant concern of being shut down and perpetual considerations over the sustainability of the business for him.
Prior to the “Şirketim” project, he had an idea about neither United Work nor GIZ. When one of the field officers paid a visit to his shop, he has learned about both of the organizations, as well as the project. Once he heard the details of the project, he immediately decided to participate because he was not holding any necessary legal registration. Starting from the tax plate, all necessary registration and inventories – chamber registration, E-Signature, POS machines, fire extinguishers, work permit, and municipality license – were completed in line with the related laws.
All the support provided within the scope of the project has been very beneficial for him. First of all, with the formalization process, all the challenges and concerns he faced because of the informality of the business disappeared. Now, the entire business is in compliance with laws and regulations so he can operate safely and confidently. In addition, barbers are one of the sectors most affected by the COVID-19 outbreak; therefore, the financial support provided at the end of this process was also very beneficial. Thanks to this support, the economic impact of the epidemic on his business has subsided, albeit limitedly. In this framework, he thinks that the “Şirketim” project is very successful, and all the supports given are meaningful and useful. He feels grateful to everyone and every partner that took part in the implementation of the project.
With the contribution of all the support provided, in the near future, he wants to expand the business, open a bigger shop and different branches, and create employment for more people. In both economic aspects and social aspects, he feels happy in Turkey. He states that Turkish people have always been tolerant of him and that he did not encounter any racism. Besides, he wants his children to have a better life; he wants them to study and to feel secure. Therefore, in the near future, plans to stay in Turkey. However, he states that if the political, social, and economic situation in Syria improves and evolves, he considers returning to Syria.