About Us

Welcome To The Global Startup Ecosystem For Entrepreneurs On The Move In Istanbul!

Startups Without Borders creates world-class entrepreneurship events, training programs, and media products, where diversity takes center stage.

Startups Without Borders connects the most ambitious refugee and migrant entrepreneurs with resources to grow their business while providing investors with an entry point to under-the-radar startups with disruptive potential.
We’re building a global movement, with events, a tech platform, and communities across different cities in the Middle East, Europe, and beyond.

Our Story

Time and time again, we witness the magic of how a calling in one’s heart manifests into a global mission that connects and inspires many. Startups Without Borders is such a story. It started with Valentina Primo. After graduating from her masters in peace studies, human rights and EU policies she came to meet many inspiring entrepreneurs who defied life’s challenging circumstances with the optimism to create, innovate and serve. In particular, the many inspiring examples of refugees and migrants. She felt a need for a platform that connects such entrepreneurs, celebrates them, inspires others to take lead, and enables a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem beyond borders – and so in 2017, Startups Without Borders came to life.
Today, Startups Without Borders has over 10,000 entrepreneurs in its global network, has trained over 2,600 entrepreneurs, served entrepreneurs across 85 countries and has 2.5 million global social media reach. 
The Istanbul Chapter is an extension of this story as the first-ever Startups Without Borders Chapter. Launched in 2022, SWB Istanbul Chapter serves entrepreneurs on the move in the ever-dynamic landscape of Istanbul city. With over 15 million inhabitants in Istanbul, we’re setting off to build an entrepreneurial ecosystem on the move by connecting the most ambitious entrepreneurs with resources to grow their business while providing investors with an entry point to under-the-radar startups with disruptive potential and to inspire the next generation of impact entrepreneurs in Turkiye.

Our Mission

Through the power of stories, learning and networking, we’re building a thriving platform that connects people across the entrepreneurial ecosystem to exchange knowledge, share resources and engage in ongoing growth opportunities. With live events and online initiatives, we bring you impact stories, learning and networking for entrepreneurs on the move in Turkiye. 

Impact Stories 

We connect you to inspiring entrepreneurial stories while celebrating their courage, commitment and leadership. It’s the human first behind the business then the business as we journey deeper into their stories and build meaningful connections.

Impact Learning 

Learning is a lifelong journey of growth, expansion and deepening. Our learning hub curates insights, tips and masterclass learning from leaders across the entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

Impact Community

The entrepreneurial ecosystem is not simply a network, it’s a dynamic community. We seek to build bridges and opportunities by connecting entrepreneurs and upcoming entrepreneurs to key resources, people, and organizations – connecting as a community that grows and thrives together.

The Team

Gamil Alhaithy 

Director – SWB Istanbul Chapter 

Gamil has extensive professional experience in diverse industries across marketing, business development, and leadership roles with B2B & B2C working exposure in Middle-Eastern, European and Asian markets. He has also founded businesses in the field of fintech and ecommerce.

Hazar Sakabani

SWB Istanbul Chapter

Certified marketing and entrepreneurs’ international coach & mentor.
Marketing and digital presence consultant for individuals and entities in the Middle east, Istanbul and UK.
Published author – member of the Arab Writers Union.
Founder of Marketing Genies agency.
Board Member Digital Istanbul Association

Rym Aoudia 

SWB Istanbul Chapter 

Rym Aoudia has over 13 years of experience in the areas of learning and development, communications and entrepreneurship. She is also a former TV news anchor and radio host. She currently develops and delivers training programs, offers freelance services in learning and development, and engages in creative initiatives. 

What We Do

Content & Media

We don’t tell visual stories. We craft pieces of inspiration. Startups Without Borders is setting off to tell the stories of the world’s most courageous entrepreneurs, the bold founders who build game-changing businesses in foreign lands. We are telling the stories of the architects of the future.


Our world-class events bring together high-profile speakers, experts and international leaders from the startup, corporate, investment, government and non-profit sector to meet founders from the most remote corners of the world. From startup competitions, to training bootcamps, to the SWB summit, we gather investors, incubators, mentors, and corporations with a passion for creating new realities.

The Directory

We’re launching the SWB Directory, a platform for business angels and investors to access an incredible pool of high-potential migrant and refugee-led startups, while offering entrepreneurs exclusive resources and access to opportunities. Sign up to the beta version of the platform and get first-hand access!

Our Impact