‘Amazon of the East’ Founder Discovered a Way to Elevate Other Women Entrepreneurs

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Latina Equal Pay Day is 18 days later this year, Rep. Elise Stefanik emerges as a face of the GOP on impeachment, and we get a debrief of Day 2 of Fortune’s Global Forum. Have a wonderful Wednesday. 


- Elevating women entrepreneurs.  On Day 2 of the Fortune Global Forum in Paris, I interviewed Hanzade Doğan-Boyner, founder and chair of Turkey-based e-commerce giant Hepsiburada, also known as the Amazon of the East. She started the platform in 2000 by buying up a small electronics seller; today it has 150 million visitors per month and last year pulled in revenue equivalent to nearly $800 million. She says the platform is growing at 60%-70% annually.

Doğan-Boyner stands apart from the business community in Turkey and, to be frank, the business community globally as a Muslim woman working in tech. It should be noted that she had an advantage from the get-go, having been born into a family that owns and publishes one of Turkey’s top newspapers. Yet, after working briefly for the family business, Doğan-Boyner diverged from that set path to launch Hepsiburada. "I've always been driven, so my drive did not come after I left the company," she said. "It was probably my drive that pushed me out of the company."

Our conversation touched on a bevy of topics: Yes, she understands Hepsiburada’s comparisons to Amazon, though she argues its “soul” is plenty different. No, she’s not wholly against the suggestion of more regulation of Big Tech; there is “wealth concentration,” “power concentration,” and “the use of public data” to consider. And she sees a more “seamless integration” of online and offline experiences as the future of e-commerce; we’ll make more in-person purchases with our phones and our online purchases will show up almost instantaneously.

One of Doğan-Boyner’s most interesting points, however, was on her efforts to elevate female entrepreneurs. Two years ago, she realized 1% of Hepsiburada’s gross merchandise volume (GMV) came from enterprises owned by women. “We wanted to do something real; something that would have real impact in support of women entrepreneurs,” she said. The result was a program that gives female business owners benefits: free training, free delivery, access to digital marketing tools, and top placement on the site. “Basically, if you’re a woman entrepreneur ... you will have an advantage of coming first versus other products; we promote these women entrepreneurs on our homepage,” Doğan-Boyner said. Once the women reach a certain level of revenue, they graduate from the program and are replaced by newcomers. Some 4,000 women are currently in the program and the site now gets 9% of GMV from female entrepreneurs.

“It did have an immense impact,” Doğan-Boyner said, "and we will continue to support the program."

The penultimate interview of the forum was with Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid, who talked NATO, Russia, and what it’s like to build a digital nation. The final one was with Groupe Renault’s interim CEO Clotilde Delbos, who assumed her role in October, after the previous chief executive was ousted in what he called a coup. His predecessor was Carlos Ghosn, who was arrested and charged with financial wrongdoing in Japan. Of the nature of her ascent to CEO, Delbos admitted, “It was unexpected.” You can read about her other remarks, including her bullishness on electric vehicles, here.

Claire Zillman

Today's Broadsheet was produced by Emma Hinchliffe


- Pay up. Today is Latina Equal Pay Day, the date that Latinas had to work into the next year to earn what white men did the year prior. (Yup: 11 extra months.) It comes 18 days later than last year after Latinas lost a cent on the dollar. Mónica Ramírez, organizer of the National Latina Equal Pay Day of Action, writes about why we can't afford to allow the Latina wage gap to widen any further. Fortune

- Who's who. Throughout the impeachment hearings, Rep. Elise Stefanik has emerged as a new face of the Republican Party. Known for her work getting more GOP women elected, the usually moderate Stefanik has become a strong partisan voice against impeaching President Trump. Jennifer Williams, special adviser on Europe and Russia for Vice President Mike Pence, testified yesterday. Deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia Laura Cooper is scheduled to testify today. 

- Debate demands. Ahead of tonight's Democratic presidential debate on MSNBC, four candidates—Sens. Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren—signed a letter urging parent company Comcast to investigate a "toxic culture" at its NBC News division. The 2020 candidates say they are worried about the message it would send survivors of sexual assault for the debate to happen on the network without a commitment to investigating the problems revealed in Ronan Farrow's Catch and KillHuffPost 

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Founders Factory named Maya Baratz Jordan, former managing director of TechStars, CEO of Founders Factory New York. 


- Talking about it, period. Female athletes are starting to dispel an old taboo: talking about their periods. Elite marathon runner Shalane Flanagan was among the first to discuss the subject publicly, fighting against two kinds of stigma: that women shouldn't talk about their periods, and that female athletes should often be so lean that they no longer menstruate. Wall Street Journal

- Not-so-Healthy Holly. Former mayor of Baltimore Catherine Pugh was indicted on corruption charges over money she received for her "Healthy Holly" children's book series, allegedly used to enrich herself, promote her political career, and illegally fund her mayoral campaign. The scandal emerged last spring and forced Pugh to resign. Baltimore Sun

- Don't gamble on this. Nevada gambling regulators will vote this week on new rules to protect workers from sexual harassment. The proposal would require licensed gambling companies to adopt anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies; however, it was toned down from a previous version that would have explicitly linked casinos’ operating licenses to preventing and reporting sexual harassment. Wall Street Journal

- Woman-spreading incoming. Is sitting in "ladylike" positions—legs crossed, ankles crossed—hurting women's musculoskeletal health? One orthopedic surgeon has started the movement "S.L.A.M.," or "sit like a man," to protect women's joint health. Washington Post


Congratulations, you're a congresswoman. Now what? New York Times

Glimpses of women through time: 130 years of National Geographic images Guardian

What we imagine when women run away Catapult

Melina Matsoukas makes her feature debut with the kind of story Hollywood has overlooked California Sunday Magazine


"We just refused to give up."

-Actor Evan Rachel Wood on working to pass the Phoenix Act, which extends the statute of limitations for victims of domestic abuse in California 


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