Looking Back, Moving Forward: Viveka 2023 Review

Sine Kilisli
Viveka Blog
Published in
5 min readDec 25, 2023

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We are creating, even when we stop for one second.

It’s almost the end of the year, and what better time to look back at what we’ve done and how we’ve felt about it all? Now, it’s time to reflect on our journey, share our experiences, and remind ourselves of the impact we’ve made. Why? Because it’s all about us, we have many stories to tell.

It was supposed to be a challenging year in every way.

Here’s the rundown: We met new people, signed fresh deals, learned a bunch, reshuffled our plans, and got stuff done. We were everywhere — in the office, at airports (seriously, many airports), and on Zoom. Some days, we were hopping from one city to another (still figuring out how we managed that).

Every one of us at Viveka experienced this year differently. Still, there’s one thing we all agree on: The people we met, each immersed in their own culture and totally into what they do, are all about innovation, just like us.

Considering all the experiences from 2023, one might wonder, “How does this year make our team feel?

“2023 was one of the toughest years, amidst disasters, wars, and the climate crisis. We had to maintain our resilience while keeping alive the desire to help those striving for a better future. We drew strength from our team, entrepreneurs, stakeholders, mentors, neighboring countries, and families. 2023 was also a year of birth for me — expanding families, new ideas, projects, and collaborations. Looking ahead to 2024, I’m proud to be with a team ready and brave to develop new initiatives in a challenging world.”

-Emin Okutan

Milestones of 2023

With the reflections on 2023 behind us, talk a bit about innovation. Aside from our ongoing programs, which ones did we complete in 2023? ( let’s keep this out of record, in Viveka language, it means archiving the program’s Mattermost channel.) Let’s take a look!

In 2023, we executed 10 programs focusing on innovation, impact, and investment. These programs were conducted in collaboration with esteemed partners:

YASED, Philip Morris Türkiye, Anadolu Efes, Tüpraş, EnerjiSA, Innovation and Digital Development Agency, Pasha Holding, Consulate General of Canada to Istanbul, KOSGEB, TTGV, EYDK, Girvak, Colendi, Assembly Buildings, Scientific and Technological Research Council of Türkiye (TÜBİTAK) and Habitat.

The success of these programs was further amplified by the direct contributions of startups, investors, stakeholders, facilitators, mentors, and key players in the ecosystem.

2023 was a year of stretching our boundaries. Our journey took us beyond familiar territories as we led programs focused on social impact, innovation, and investment.

We took major strides globally — from enhancing Azerbaijan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem to bridging Canadian startups with Turkish businesses. And London? Let’s say we’re keeping it in the pipeline for now. (spoiler alert: startups, watch this space!)

Designing and executing these programs wasn’t just an overnight affair. It took countless hours of dedication, sleepless nights, (special thanks to Brazilian Coffee), and persistent effort. So, here’s a standing ovation to our teammates who made it all happen and put in work with patience — even if it means off-the-clock!

Now, let’s get real for a moment. Our team members picked one word each that sums up their 2023 at Viveka. Here’s what they had to say…

A Word for the 2023: Team Viveka Speaks

“Each year is tougher than the one before, largely because we keep aiming higher. The closer we get to the top (not calling it ‘top’ as it’s a bit bold), the climb becomes more challenging, and our fear of falling intensifies. Bearing this in mind, we understand that each next year will be harder than the last. We adjust our goals accordingly to ensure we don’t slip. Here’s to face more demanding yet joyous years ahead!”

-Barış Okur

Aysha: Pull and Push — Looking back on this year feels like pedaling through a long bike ride — so much road behind, with a clear view of the expansive path ahead, filled with opportunities to achieve more.

Belgin: Ciconia Ciconia — We have an expression in Turkish called “seeing the leyle in the air”. This year was full of traveling. I saw different cities, met new people, and most importantly tried new flavors :) It was a year full of excitement, innovations, and awareness, thank you 2023.

Beyza: Voyager — With the people I’ve met on the roads and the traces of memories from the places I’ve discovered, traveling has allowed me to open new chapters on maps and in my soul and professional development.

Dilan: 3D Madness — This year, I could describe it most kindly like this; I am happy to have come out of this real madness as a good mad.

Halis: Roller Coaster—Ups and downs make me go faster.

İdil: Tornado — This year had no in-betweens for me, In the first half there was only an academic rush, with the projects and everything. And after I graduated, it was a complete stagnation, like I was in the eye of a tornado. At the end of the year, I started to work at Viveka, so I caught up in the wind again, as I like to be in a rapid environment.

İrem: Roller Coaster — 2023 has felt like a rollercoaster, as it was a very fast-paced year with its ups and downs.

Sena: Journey — Life is about experiencing. It’s not just about reaching from one point to another but about the experiences along the journey. 2023 was a year filled with journeys at Viveka. From these travels, I gathered a variety of different experiences.

Sine: Adaptation —A year of keeping on my toes. I adapted to new stuff, got the hang of it, and then tossed it out to learn something new, all with a grin. It’s been a cycle of learning, unlearning, and relearning!

As we step into the opportunities that await in 2024, we wish you a year brimming with joy, fulfillment, and the continued pursuit of what you truly believe in and love doing. May this new year bring you closer to your dreams and aspirations, as you create, innovate, and inspire.

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