Research and Development (R&D) activities have been supported in numerous countries since 1970’s in order to increase the industrial production activities. To maintain and develop these activities, technoparks have been established in Turkey and in many other countries.
How to define the technoparks?
Technopark is a special investment zone where universities, research institutions and industrial enterprises operate their innovation and R&D activities and where R&D activities are supported. Technoparks and R&D incentives have been regulated in specific laws in Turkey. According to the Technology Development Zones Law, firms using high technology may produce or develop technology or softwares or transform a technological innovation into products by benefiting from the facilities of the universities or research institutions in these technoparks. The main purpose of technoparks is to produce and transfer technological information, and to make innovations in order to make the country’s industry capable to compete with other industries in the world and to provide the conformity of small and medium sized enterprises with new and developed technologies.
Opportunities provided to enterprises in technoparks
Technoparks have been regulated by the Technology Development Zones Law which has entered into force in 2001. This law has been providing financial incentives to the enterprises established in these zones. Accordingly, the enterprises may make their investments for manufacturing of products which they derive from their R&D activities in these zones under certain conditions. Moreover, there are income, stamp and corporate tax exemptions for the enterprises which are located and operate in these zones and tax exemptions for salaries of R&D personnal working in these zones. These incentives have been extended to 2023.
Entrepreneurship support in technoparks: business incubators
Apart from the legal incentives, technoparks may include business incubators which provide physical and financial facilities to develop the start-up enterprises for their R&D activities. Pursuant to the Technology Development Zones Law, the leading company of a technopark is obligated to take measures in order to provide the establishment of business incubators in the technoparks and it may benefit from the grants under certain conditions which may be provided by the Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology. Apart from these facilities, it is possible to establish venture capital funds and to provide venture capital to the companies in business incubator centers. Moreover, there are diverse foundations and institutions which provide grants to the start-up enterprises in these areas for their R&D activities. Even if the incubators are similar to other investment types, they differ from the other investment types in that regard, that they facilitate and provide access to several financial and physical possibilities to start-up enterprises such as consultancy about venture capital funds, about access to other financial resources and providing office equipments.
Current statistics and future expectations
Technopark establishment movements have started with the Silicon Valley in USA and recently, there are more than 800 technoparks in operation in the world. In Turkey, technopark establishments have been started in 1990’s and as from 2013, there are more than 45 technoparks located in different cities in Turkey and most of them have been put into operation. According to the statistics, there are approximately 1000 companies located in the technoparks and 3000 projects as of 2008. Most preferred sectors in technoparks in Turkey are aviation, energy, industrial softwares, electronics and chemicals. Apart from the mixed technoparks, also establishment of specialized technoparks have been planned. It is planned to duplicate the number of the technoparks in Turkey until 2023.