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Startup Incubators Expanding to Provinces

Regional startups are getting a boost from the Telecoms Ministry-backed organization.Regional startups are getting a boost from the Telecoms Ministry-backed organization.

Iran’s ICT Startup Empowerment and Facilitation Center (ISEFC) is to open more than 20 startup incubators throughout the country in the next fiscal year that starts in mid-March.

ISEFC is a state-owned body affiliated to the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology and has been tasked to promote the growth in the emerging startup sector.

Head of the center, Shahla Osooli told Mehr News Agency, “The provincial branches will be launched gradually in the upcoming year.” It was not clear which provinces and regions would be the first to get the new centers.

Osooli said the branches will operate as startup incubators empowering the sector by offering training and incentives.

Regarding the ISEFC online startup data bank, she said “The website has been updated and those interested can survey the  activities of startups based on location.” This option should help bring provincial startup companies into the spotlight.

In January 2016 Osooli said 930 new businesses and 550 startup ideas have been registered on the website and 79 investors had used the website to announce their interest in investing in startups.

The Rouhani administration is a major supporter of online trade making it a key pillar of its policy to augment and encourage a business-friendly climate along with interaction with foreign enterprises active in the economic and commercial fields.

The largest incubators currently include Avatech, Dmond and Sharif University's Accelerator program.

Meanwhile, a deputy at the Presidential Office for Science and Technology, Mahmoud Sheikh Zeinedin, told reporters Sunday that the annual revenue of knowledge-based companies and startups reached 300 billion rials ($7.9 million) in the current Iranian year.

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