Economy, Sci & Tech

Tehran's 1st Social Enterprise Center Closes

Tehran's 1st Social Enterprise Center Closes
Tehran's 1st Social Enterprise Center Closes

Iran's first-ever social enterprise hub has shut down after one of its main sponsors pulled the plug on funding, according to one of the founders.

A social enterprise applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental wellbeing, which may include maximizing social impact alongside profits for external shareholders.

These are usually achieved by marrying technology, entrepreneurship and social innovation.

In her email, Azadeh Tajdar the group's Global Partnership Manager stated the reasons for the closure of the project.

Tajdar said in her email, "Regretfully, after internal deliberations, reflections and conversations, Tehran Hub had to be shut down and our operations ended after the decision of the main donor to focus on other priorities."

Tehran Hub has also stopped its social media presence in recent months with the last tweet coming out on February 5.

The social entrepreneurship professional noted that the closure was a difficult decision, knowing the importance and untapped opportunities for social entrepreneurship and innovation in Iran.

The sponsor, believed to be Samsung Electronics Company, originally began the project with a group of key players from the field of social enterprise.

Despite negative write-ups in the media about the startup center, the organizer said it had nothing to do with social enterprise per se, rather the issues came from the funding side.

The startup industry has had a rocky two years in the country with several groups criticizing their limited ability to generate any profits, with the exception of a couple of older startups like DigiKala, Iran's answer to Amazon, and, a cross between listing sites Craigslist and a regional group on Yahoo.

Avatech, Iran's leading startup accelerator program that provides entrepreneurs with the ingredients to succeed, has also had limited success. Its startups have also not made it to the top 10 websites in the country.

And only one, Reyhoon, a fast food delivery services, is getting second-round funding.