Entrepreneurship wins .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} ISTANBUL- Si-ser Teknik has come a long way since it was established in Tekirdağ’s Çorlu district in 2006. Si-ser Teknik, the only hearing aid producer in Turkey, has posted 20 million euros in turnover last year

Turkey’s only hearing aid producer, Si-ser Teknik, posted a turnover of 20 million euros last year. The company set a model for entrepreneurial spirit in the country.

M. Emin Ağaç, born in the eastern city of Bilgöl’s Solhan, studied philosophy and psychology in Germany before joining forces with a German partner to found Si-ser Teknik in Çorlu district of Tekirdağ, Eastern Thrace. Turkey’s only hearing aid production factory currently employs 70 people. Ağaç also purchased Ziylan Group’s polyurethane and thermo shoe sole production plant recently, providing employment to more than 100 people.

"I was born in 1965 in Solhan. I started boarding school when I was seven," Ağaç, the chairman of Si-ser Teknik said, expressing his memories concerning the importance of being an idealist in life.

"I studied philosophy and psychology in Germany. While studying in Cologne, I also started trade. I established my first company in Turkey in 1996. Together with my family friend Winfried Katz, a world-renowned figure in the hearing aids field, who is also the founder of Ear Technic Germany, we decided to establish a hearing aids company in Turkey back in 2003. We have a fifty-fifty partnership in the company. We brought the know-how in this area to Turkey."

German partner
Due to bureaucratic technicalities, the investment could not start until 2005, Ağaç said. "We were almost hindered. Social security institutions of the state had prepared legislation only for import products in this field; therefore there were great problems in purchasing domestic products. It has still not been totally overcome."

Expressing the problems and the obstacles people created during the bureaucratic process, he said: "Eventually, Winfried Katz could not stand it and left. While leaving, he asked: 'Are you sure these people are Turkish?’ We managed to open the factory in 2006. The bureaucratic problems continued till October 2008."

The hearing aids produced at the Si-ser Teknik factory in Çorum’s European Free Trade Zone, meet international quality norms and standards, Ağaç said. "Si-ser Teknik produces 500 different devices under four brands. Its annual capacity is over 80,000 units."

Ağaç also told of the subsidiaries of Si-ser Teknik. Si-Ser İşitme Merkezleri (hearing centers) provide sales and services at 150 spots nationwide, including 15 of its own, he said, adding: "With Tekno Endüstri, we conduct sound, humidity, magnetic field and light tests at workplaces. We purchased Polar in 2008, and this facility produces polyurethane and thermo shoe soles. Si-ser Teknoloji, founded Jan 1 this year, will sell and import tools to reduce magnetic waves of from equipment such as mobile phones."

Demand for hearing aid

On average, 3 percent of the world's population requires the use of a hearing aid, Ağaç said, expressing the activities to speed up research and development in that area. "We have developed new products. A new product, named Nano, can be fixed according to the intensity and frequency of tinnitus. This way, tinnitus between 500 and 7,250 hertz can be controlled. While the system suppresses tinnitus, natural voices can be heard. Besides, the device can be used also to filter the voices-sounds that create sensitivity for the person. We will sell this product to the world."