Bedriye Hulya is the founder of B-fit, Turkey’s first national chain of women-only gyms. Bedriye is a serial entrepreneur, prior to setting up B-fit she set up a popular restaurant, two boutique hotels and an importing company. Bedriye opened the first branch of B-fit in February 2006 based on an idea she had come across when living in America.
B-fit now has more than 250 gyms in a variety of socio-economic and geographic locations throughout Turkey-with more than a hundred and sixty thousand members-the majority of whichare run by women as franchisees. Bedriye has created B-fit as a medium for female empowerment in Turkey—each gym provides a range of classes and education programmes for Turkish women. Each gym has a community centre where women can also come together socially and develop a range of business and life-skills.
Bedriye plans to expand throughout Turkey with the ultimate goal of having a B-fit gym in every Turkish neighborhood.
In this interview, Bedriye talks about:
- Exercise as a tool for female empowerment
- The importance of economic empowerment through entrepreneurship
- How word of mouth has helped build B-fit grow
- The challenges funding a social business in Turkey
- Why Bedriye recruits people who are unhappy with the status quo
- The mix of patience and impatience that is key to success as a social entrepreneur