Programs & Projects

Livelihoods Innovation through Food Entrepreneurship (Turkey)

September 1, 2017 - August 31, 2019


WDI collaborated with a consortium led by the Center for International Private Enterprise on the Livelihoods Innovation through Food Entrepreneurship (LIFE) Project, funded by the U.S. Government. Other consortium members included IDEMA, Union Kitchen, and The Stimson Center. During 2017-2020, the LIFE Project had established two Food Enterprise Centers (based in Istanbul and Mersin, Turkey) where entrepreneurs participated in an entrepreneurship incubation program and had access to shared kitchen space for testing and producing their products. The mission of the LIFE Project was to support and encourage entrepreneurship, job creation, and cross-cultural engagement in the food sector. The LIFE Project’s entrepreneurship incubation program built sustainable livelihoods by equipping refugees and members of the host communities with the skills and knowledge they needed to build successful businesses. Underlying LIFE Project activities was gastrodiplomacy – that is, leveraging food as a medium for cross-cultural engagement.

With the obstacles brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the Project’s strategy required a pivot as in-person training at the Food Enterprise Centers ceased. The WDI team provided guidance to IDEMA, the implementing partner, as they shifted to offering the in-person entrepreneur incubation training to an online format. The WDI team also facilitated an online workshop about resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic to help equip the consortium with the skills to meet the changing needs of the project participants during the challenging time.

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