Vehbi Koç (1901-1996) started his business career when he was only 16 by convincing his father to open a small grocery store in Ankara in 1917.
Considered to be the first step leading up to the current Koç Group, this small business did not grow much during the First World War and in the years following the War of Independence, but started a gradual growth after the foundation of the Republic.
In 1923 when Ankara was announced as the Capital of the young Republic, construction activities started at full scale in this small town and Koç decided to expand his business to cover building supplies and hardware.
The small shop where Vehbi Koç started his business career was registered in his father's name, but on 31 May 1926 he incorporated the business in his own name as "Koçzade Ahmet Vehbi" (Ahmet Vehbi of the Koç Family) in the Ankara Chamber of Commerce and became the owner of this enterprise.
This is the date which symbolizes the birth of the Koç Group and is considered as the Group's official date of foundation.The picture in those years was not very promising in Turkey. The War of Independence had just ended, the country was weary from wars. All human and material resources were consumed during long years of fighting. Turkey was a poor country with a very low level of development.
Then, construction and development activities started in the capital city. This meant new needs and Koç expanded his business to anticipate these new needs. The next step for Koç was moving from Ankara to Istanbul.
Vehbi Koç realized that the market in Istanbul offered a large potential. As a result, he opened new shops and trade houses while undertaking some building activity. At that stage, he tried to diversify his business activity by signing distributor agreements and representation contracts.