InovaTIM: Young Innovators Leading the Future of Turkey

InovaTIM is a group of students training students and competing globally in the fields of innovation and technology around the world.
Susan Fourtané
Turkey Innovation Week, InovaTIM / Photo Source: Kamil Mercimek  

The recent Turkey Innovation Week, organized by the Turkey Exporters Assembly (TIM), brought together innovation representatives from all around Turkey and abroad. The two-day event took place at the Istanbul Business Center on May 3-4.

At the event, we met with Kamil Mercimek, founder, leader, and general coordinator of InovaTIM. He told us that he started developing the idea for this project four years ago, before presenting it to the Turkey Exporters Assembly.

InovaTIM is now a project supported and funded by the Turkey Exports Assembly. InovaTIM identifies young talent innovators in universities and high schools, and trains them in different areas of emerging technologies with focus in innovation.

InovaTIM: Young innovators and future leaders

InovaTIM at Turkey Innovation Week
The InovaTIM students at Turkey Innovation Week 2019 / Photo source: Kamil Mercimek 

InovaTIM is made up of 3,000 students representing 140 universities under the body of Turkish Exporters Assembly. Their mission is to raise awareness in universities and promote innovation through a series of meetups, workshops, case studies, overseas trips, inland technical trips, competitions as well as innovation and entrepreneurship training programs.  

The main goal of InovaTIM is to raise consciousness about innovation in all young entrepreneurs and innovative universities. Fundamentally, InovaTIM wants to encourage students to adopt innovation in their future careers and future projects, to be applied in the future. After all, today's young generations are the ones who are going to lead and build the future.

A young leader and innovator

Kamil Mercimek
Kamil Mercimek, founder, leader, and general coordinator at InovaTIM giving a presentation / Photo source: Kamil Mercimek 

Kamil Mercimek was already conducting and running many projects on innovation and the information technology ecosystem when he was a student. As a business management student, he realized that there was a huge lack of information available to students on these topics in Turkey.

After his graduation from university, he started some attempts to develop groups of innovative students. Then, they proposed the project to the Turkey Exporters Assembly, which supported and funded them. And, that's how InovaTIM was born.

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Today, they are an ecosystem that is spread along 71 cities in Turkey. The main mission is to spread information technology (IT), innovation, intellectual capital, and economy to the younger generations. "In total we have more than 3,000 students," Kamil Mercimek tells Interesting Engineering.

"We train them both online and offline. The students also go abroad on trips with business people. So far, they have been to 27 countries," he says. Mercimek explains that those students who are already trained begin training other students in high schools. It is like a chain of education and innovation.

In addition, those selected students are also trained in Artificial Intelligence (AI) as well as digital transformation, Internet of Things (IoT).

From Artificial Intelligence to IoT to aerospace

Kamil (center) and his collegues with Turkish NASA astrophysicist Umut Yıldız (right) / Photo source: Kamil Mercimek 

"Right now we have 10,000 high school students that are part of this training. We have project teams working in the fields of aerospace, robotics, automation, Artificial Intelligence. They are all developing innovative projects on these topics. These students participate in competitions all around the world."

"The most recent one is from a team called APIS. They became the winner of the Cannes aerospace competition and were sponsored by NASA," says Mercimek.

Mercimek says that they also have a team located in Ankara. They were accepted in competitions in Italy, Germany, and the Czech Republic. And, they also became the winner of the New Commerce award.

"We have another team developing underwater robotics. They are going to participate in a competition in the United States. In these projects that they are conducting they work in a way which allows them to try to enhance the innovation system that is currently undergoing in Turkey," Mercimek says.