Dilek Bağdatlıoğlu, who has created the world’s first vegan disinfectant tested and certified against Corona Virus using the entrepreneur support from ILO, exports to six countries

Bağdatlıoğlu: “With ILO’s support, I worked toward commercializing my product, obtained accreditation from Europe and now I can export.”

News | 18 December 2020
ANKARA – Entrepreneur Dilek Bağdatlıoğlu created the world’s first vegan disinfectant, which was tested and certified against Corona Virus, using the entrepreneur support she received under the Opportunities for Lives Project implemented by the International Labour Organization (ILO). Having successfully completed the Enterprise Support Scheme held under the Project, Dilek Bağdatlıoğlu obtained accreditation and started producing the disinfectant named Nanoksia using the grant support she received. Indicating that they moved production to an earlier time due to the pandemic, the successful entrepreneur now exports to six countries as well as making domestic sales.

The European Union-funded project is implemented in cooperation with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Directorate-General for International Labour Force (DG-ILF) of the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services (MoFLSS). The “Enterprise Support Scheme”, which was implemented under the project aiming for the economic and social empowerment of Syrians under Temporary Protection and Turkish citizens in Turkey and strengthening the labour market and governance mechanisms, supported entrepreneur candidates through training and mentorship guidance; those who were successful were awarded a grant to start or grow their businesses. We had a discussion with Dilek Bağdatlıoğlu, who was awarded the grant, about her product and the process.

Ms Dilek, can you tell us about yourself?

After attending Robert College in high school, I received my bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Boğaziçi University, and a doctoral degree in international finance from Istanbul University. After working in the finance sector in London and New York for many years, I headed towards a field which was brand new to me due to my interest in biotechnology and nanotechnology. Although my profession is finance, I have always been much interested in technology and technology-intensive projects.

Nanoksia is effective against bacteria, fungi, and viruses, ensuring 99.999% removal in 5 minutes. It is among the firsts of its kind for being made 100% from plant extracts and not containing chemicals that are harmful to human and environmental health"

So, this is exactly the point when Nanoksia, the world’s first disinfectant that is vegan and has a Corona Virus Test Report, comes into play. Would you tell us about your product?

Nanoksia is a completely plant-based nanotechnological product. It is hundred per cent vegan. It is a nano-silver based disinfectant that does not contain any harmful chemicals. The project author is Prof. Dr. Dilek Demirezen Yılmaz from Erciyes University. We finally patented our project which Dilek Hodja developed in 9 years of R&D efforts. Now we are taking out a patent from Europe, as well. Nanoksia is effective against bacteria, fungi, and viruses, ensuring 99.999% removal in 5 minutes. It is among the firsts of its kind for being made 100% from plant extracts and not containing chemicals that are harmful to human and environmental health. Nanoksia is also Vegan Certified. Our application process for Halal Certification has also been finalized, so we will be receiving a Halal Certificate, as well.

How did you become aware of ILO’s enterprise support scheme?

I was introduced to ILO’s Opportunities for Lives project through a friend of mine who was a mentor in the project. To participate in the preliminaries, I prepared an extensive presentation explaining the product information of Nanoksia and the process and gave a presentation to the jury. Because of Nanoksia’s properties and having already applied for a patent, we managed to impress the jury. After being selected, I immediately received a call from ILO, letting me know that they were interested in our project. Thankfully, they were very helpful throughout the process and led all the steps diligently.

I was able to commercialize my product thanks to the support I received from ILO, and now I am exporting to six countries. I would like to thank ILO, which gave me the opportunity to develop and market this product that will benefit all people at this very time of the pandemic."

In what ways was the support useful to you?

The Opportunities for Lives project was extremely beneficial for us during this process. For one thing, it accelerated our entry to the market. It greatly contributed to planning during factory processes and building the production line. In short, it helped us commercialize.

Every penny was extremely valuable to us. Thanks to the grant support from the Opportunities for Lives Project, we had the chance to run all of our tests successfully in accredited European laboratories. We also have successful test results obtained from the accredited laboratories of The Boeing Company in Miami.

We sought and obtained internationally recognized accreditation because we also targeted the foreign markets. This is how we are currently able to export to six countries. You know how every penny is of great value in the investment process; every critique, guidance, and new idea is very important. Through the support I received, I managed to commercialize my product and started to export to Dubai, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Germany, Azerbaijan, and Netherlands in addition to making domestic sales.

The monetary contribution of this support was important, but I do not see it as having only monetary value; it offers so much more and has the multiplier effects"


The monetary contribution of this support was important, but I do not see it as having only monetary value; it offers so much more and has the multiplier effects. During that process, running the accreditation tests was very important for us. We had them run, and they helped tremendously when we were putting our product on the market. Additionally, the training processes and every feedback by the jury were very valuable to us. It makes you feel like you are not alone, that someone is looking out for you, ready and waiting to support you. That was psychologically rewarding, as well. The support I received had both psychological and financial value. Entrepreneurs can sometimes feel much lonely, questioning themselves on whether they are doing the right thing and continuously vacillating; but when you see that expert, competent business people like ILO officials appreciate and support your project and provide you with nice feedback cheers you up and makes you feel good.

In every success story, we are only told about the outcome; whereas there are intense labour and failing decisions until you get there. What matters is not to give up."

As a successful entrepreneur, what would you like to say to entrepreneur candidates?

You may have tens of thousands of ideas, but commercialization is what matters. Commercialization is not possible through thinking; you must take action and make an effort to materialize your idea. Do not be afraid to make mistakes. Do not fear making decisions. In every success story, we are only told about the outcome; whereas there are intense labour and failing decisions until you get there. What matters is not to give up. Emil Motycka’s quote, “The biggest failure you can have in life is not trying at all”, has been my guide. Entrepreneurship requires labour. There were times when we ran and hit the wall; we had our share of failures. So does everyone that takes on entrepreneurship. We must learn a lesson from our failures. If the idea is correct, funding and support will be found one way or another.

We did not plan on entering the market so quickly, but we had to accelerate our processes due to COVID-19. I would like to thank ILO, who gave me the opportunity to develop and market this product that will benefit all people at this very time of the pandemic.”