Success stories

Recent testimonies of successful business networking - Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme

New entrepreneur:
Dilek Topkara (Germany)

Company name: Dilekerei (Start-up)
Sector of activity: Food, beverages, tobacco and related products

'My participation in the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs was a great opportunity for me to train in the UK. I am lucky to have known the value of food, embodying communion, caring and aesthetic splendor since my childhood. Dilekerei is a high-end patisserie, cake shop and café rooted in my Turkish-German-European background, in the experiences I had from my home in central Berlin to London, from New York City to Venice'.

Host entrepreneur:
Juliet Sear (United Kingdom)

Company name: Fancy Nancy
Sector of activity: Food, beverages, tobacco and related products

Period of exchange: 10/2010 until 03/2011
Duration of exchange: 6 months


Aspiring entrepreneurs: When passion for food turns into business

Dilek grew up with a Turkish kitchen, sprawling breakfast of homemade fresh breads and cheese, köfte and baklava. Food meant more than subsistence in her family: it held a history of hospitality and sharing, culture and faith. The passion instilled in her for food from her earliest memories grew through experience, through taste and soon through my education. 

She chose to study Food Science and Technology as she wanted to know all there was about food. She completed her university studies with a thesis on "The Improvement of Quality of Baked Goods for Celiac Disease Patients.”

Dilek learned from a young age, growing up at the site of the Berlin Wall, of the strength of walls and borders. Yet, she was convinced of a borderlessness that would connect her beyond Germany or Turkey, to an international community passionate about food.

‘I felt most myself when I moved between and beyond the lines superimposed on me by others. Why could I not be a strong Muslim, Turkish, German, European female entrepreneur? I could and would be. I am today!" Dilek says.

The budding entrepreneur thus decided to apply for the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs in 2010, to train in the UK under foremost cake designers and was soon matched with experienced entrepreneur Juliet Sear who owns the cake boutique Fancy Nancy.

Dilek decided to start up after her stay abroad in the UK but did not make the decision to return to Berlin to found Dilekerei lightly. Rather, she reached a point at which she craved independence in her craft to develop herself and to make her family’s dream come true: to show cultural translation and fusion through food. 

It is the beauty of art: the capacity to move between and beyond any lines, borders or walls. To make something uniquely yours. Dilekerei is mine and more than mine. It is a dream come to life, albeit with all of the complexities of reality: bureaucracy, financial management. It is a business based on art and values. It is in fact my passion for the hand craft that has allowed my business to thrive" she says.

From buttercream cakes, bestowed with intricate sugar flowers, to fondant cakes covered in hand-piped lace, her business has expanded her frontiers not only as business woman but also as a person and artist. „As an artist, I have the opportunity to bring others’ visions to life: perhaps most often in the form of wedding cakes which to me represents far more than just the product itself"says Dilek.  

Her inspiration comes from exposure to numerous cities, countries and cultures. It comes from a life in which she move in-between, speaking three languages on a daily basis. She learned on her journey that the most basic beauty is seeing always between and beyond the lines; challenging taken for granted borders or walls; and breathing life into your dreams.

Find more information please visit or contact the Support Office ( +32 2 282 08 73).

For more information, please contact the local contact points involved in the exchange:

New entrepreneur's contact point:
EIC Trier - IHK/Hwk-Europa- und Innovationscentre GmbH (Trier)

Host entrepreneur's contact point:
ARP Group Limited (London)

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