How might we establish the social impact platform of the 21st century?

imece is a social innovation platform bringing together an interdisciplinary community for creating sustainable and innovative impact on social and environmental challenges while enhancing collective capacity and providing incubation services for impact entrepreneurs.

Project Team
Ahmet Alpat, Atılım Şahin, Aylin Durmaz, Ayşesu Çelik, Bala Gürcan, Ceylan Uşaki Erali, Dara Kılıçoğlu, Ebru Boyacı, Emre Erbirer, Engin Ayaz, Mert Çetinkaya, Mertcan Avcı, Murathan Sırakaya, Nazlı Cangönül, Nesile Yalçın, Özge Aytan, Serdar Paktin, Şevval Ceylan, Tolga Dizmen, Ufuk Barış Mutlu

Project Lead
Kerem Alper

Bigumigu (Content Provider), Erdinç Akkaya (Software), Gülin Ölçen (Coach), Ömer Hacıömeroğlu (Presentation Flow Design)

imece Team
Buğra Çelik, Duygu Kambur, Fırat Okucu, Öykü Attila, Seda Karaca, Tuğçe Akbulut, Uğur Orak, Zeynep Çelik

Globally, concepts of social innovation or social entrepreneurship are increasingly becoming more and more paramount for tackling the ecological, economic and social challenges that face the globe. It is now clear that governments, the public sector, academia, or NGOs are not equipped to solve these challenges within their own domains. They are in need of a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach. At the same sime, expectations from for-profit corporations are rapidly shifting. Just recently, in January 2018, Larry Fink, CEO of Blackrock, world’s largest asset management fund declared that To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.”

Meanwhile, Turkey and the surrounding region have tangible challenges – access to relevant education, gender equality, accessibility, environmental sustainability, displaced populations and mobility, etc. These grand challenges offer opportunities for social entrepreneurs – people who are passionate social, environmental and economic challenges and view entrepreneurship as a way to scale their impact potential.

However, what was missing was a holistic ecosystem approach bringing together a community around social impact, enabling collaborations across sectors and stakeholder groups, generating locally relevant content, building talent capacity and enables social impact entrepreneurs to flourish.

imece is a social innovation platform that was founded based on these pillars

We collaborated with Zorlu Holding – one of Turkey’s leading conglomerates and S360 – one of Turkey’s leading strategic sustainability consultancy firms to build imece – Turkey’s leading social innovation platform.


imece was and still is a perfect fit for ATÖLYE’s values and multidisciplinary DNA. Since imece’s design and development kick-off back in March 2016 until today, team and community members contributed to the successful inception of the platform. Scopes were part of this journey thus far: strategy, design research, branding, service design, UX, UI, coding, communications, community building, learning design, operations, spatial design, startup incubation, business development, product design, hardware design, manufacturing, rapid prototyping, team formation.

The process for designing, developing and implementing imece was conducted as a co-design process with multiple stakeholders from various fields, including academia, NGOs, public and private sectors, as well as international collaborators such as OpenIDEO, Stanford, B Lab and frogDesign.

We asked ourselves the question: “how do we repurpose this beautiful unique word in today’s context of social entrepreneurship, newly emerging problem solving methods, and the need for multidisciplinary collaboration. Out of this question emerged imece, a social innovation platform that brings together a multidisciplinary community for creating sustainable, innovative and impact-focused projects and startups on social, environmental and economic challenges as outlined in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. imece efforts are centered around these three topics: Incubation Program, Community Building, and Capacity Building.

The word imece means “a community of people pulling together their resources towards collaboratively solving a challenge.”

imece’s Social Entrepreneur Support Program is a 7-month Pre-incubation and Incubation Program that guides 10 teams through a pre-incubation process in which teams learn and practice human-centered design and lean business canvas, 3 winning teams receive 120.000 Turkish Liras of grant and ongoing incubation support consisting of over 300 hours of mentorship, workspace, trainings, access to the ecosystem and investor relations.

imece’s Community Building activities include imece Talks, a monthly event series around social innovation, imece Roundtables, a quarterly event series of corporate social intrapreneurship, University Innovation Fellows Program in partnership with Stanford University, and becoming a hub for Social Innovation Exchange (SIX).

imece’s Capacity Building activities center around becoming a local partner of Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR), an award-winning magazine and website that covers cross-sector solutions to global problems and reaching.

With all these imece aims to create sustainable social initiatives with scalable income models, to raise awareness within the community and to ensure capacity development, and finally to become a platform that combines social entrepreneurship and innovation.

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