IGNITE Istanbul
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Video IGNITE Istanbul

Lessons in Building Economic Resilience across Türkiye and Jordan


The global COVID-19 pandemic, earthquakes in Türkiye and protracted conflicts throughout the Middle East have led to significant challenges for economies. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), especially those led by refugees and women, are most negatively impacted, leading to job losses and financial insecurity for many.

For four years, SPARK and the Qatar Fund for Development have worked together with our partners in Türkiye and Jordan to safeguard jobs, build business resilience among SMEs and open new pathways to employment for youth.

The IGNITE Istanbul conference invites practitioners to learn from the results of the programme, engage in discussions and build upon the solutions for stronger economic growth throughout the region. Join a diverse group of thought-leaders, stakeholders and experts, including governments, private sector, investors, entrepreneurs and higher education institutions, in improving the economic opportunities for youth, women and refugees in Türkiye and Jordan.

Through a series of keynote speeches, panel discussions, workshops and interactive participation, the event explores digital upskilling, entrepreneurship development, building business resilience during instability.

IGNITE Istanbul is powered by Qatar Fund for Development, Qatar Charity and SPARK.


IGNITE Istanbul convenes industry experts and stakeholders with the aim of fostering economic growth and creating opportunities to shape a promising future for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), youth, women, and refugees in the region.


Louisa Vinton, UNDP Turkey Resident Representative

Louisa Vinton assumes the role of Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Republic...

Hüseyin KAPTAN, Gaziantep Deputy Governor

The Deputy Governor hails from Elazığ and pursued his primary and secondary education in Istanbul. He obtained his...

Eng. Yousuf Ahmad H Al-Hammadi

Eng. Yousuf Ahmad H Al-Hammadi serves as the General Supervisor at Qatar Charity Turkey Office, bringing forth a...

Mr. Simon van Melick, CEO of SPARK

Mr. Simon van Melick has served on the Board of Directors as Chief Executive Officer at SPARK since...
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09:30 - 9:45
Networking breakfast
09:50 - 10:00
Welcome to IGNITE Istanbul with Simon van Melick, CEO of SPARK
10:00 - 10:50
Opening ceremony: keynotes
11:00 - 11:45
Panel: Building Business Resilience during Crisis
11:45 - 12:15
Netowrking Break
12:15 - 12:30
Business insights with: Zana Nesheiwat
12:30 - 13:15
Panel:Digitalisation: Opportunities for Inclusive Growth
13:15 - 14:15
14:15 - 14:30
In conversation with: Paketman
14:30 - 15:15
Panel: Fostering Entrepreneurial Skills for Resilience
15:15 - 15:30
In conversation with: SPARK
15:30 - 16:00
Closing ceremony


  • Panel Discussion

    Building Business Resilience during Crisis

  • Panel Discussion

    Fostering Entrepreneurial Skills for Resilience

  • Panel Discussion

    Digitalisation: Opportunities for Growth

With thanks to our programme partners