Chicago entrepreneur on winning and losing
July 20th, 2017
Serhat Cicekoglu is a Chicago venture capitalist who spends most waking moments working to attract international businesses to Chicago.
His Sente.Link company partners with 1871, the Chicago nonprofit that serves as a home-base to start-up companies. Sente.Link is an accelerator, meaning it helps give a leg up to start-up companies.
I caught up with Cicekoglu recently while he lectured Turkish college students in town as part of an entrepreneurial program.
About two dozen wide-eyed future CEOs listened to Cicekoglu talk about hard work, perseverance and facing failure before achieving success.
The group nodded with interest. They seemed the perfect entrepreneurial candidates for Chicago.
So what a surprise when just three hands went up after Cicekoglu asked who would be staying in Chicago after their studies wrapped up. The rest all wanted to go home.
Was he disappointed that there wasn’t more interest?
“Not at all,” he told me after. “The United States doesn’t have a monopoly on entrepreneurs. And I don’t want to see a brain drain in other countries.”