Sci & Tech

Telecoms Ministry Outlines Entrepreneurial Agenda

Telecoms Ministry Outlines  Entrepreneurial AgendaTelecoms Ministry Outlines  Entrepreneurial Agenda

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has outlined plans for developing content production and promoting value added services based on the Resistance Economy's agenda.

Morteza Barari, a deputy at the ministry, added that estimates show local content production has an 80% share of the information technology sector.

Barari noted that value added services related to mobile communications were worth 500 billion rials ($15 million) in 2011, which increased to 17 trillion rials ($486 million) in the last Iranian year (ended March 19, 2016), Mehr News Agency reported.

The deputy minister further said the sixth five-year development plan (2016-21) stipulates that the share of information technology and communications in the economy must triple and reach 900 trillion rials ($2,580 million) by 2021.

Therefore, 20% of the revenues worth nearly 18 trillion rials ($520 million) in the information technology sector need to be collected through value added services.

These goals can be reached only if the share of provinces in producing content and offering value added services in the mobile communications sector increases by creating new business opportunities.

Barari highlighted the vital role universities could play in promoting such businesses and said Sharif University of Technology currently earns 200 billion rials ($5.8 million) through commercialized projects.

The deputy minister further said universities are the main bases where content production begins.

"In Iran, we also need to assign a central role to universities for creating newfound businesses and content production," he said.

Barari noted that plans for organizing entrepreneurial courses and startup events across the country are underway with several centers in provincial cities.

"We aim to bring this business model to all of Iran's provinces, so that other areas can also play an important role in promoting entrepreneurial activities and newfound businesses," he said.

The plan is for each province to introduce 10-20 new enterprises each year through the business accelerator centers.

Provinces have a very limited share in creating new applications, because of which the ministry is trying to link up the provinces with accelerating centers and specialists.

The problem, according to Barari, is that the business environment is underdeveloped in cities other than Tehran, therefore individuals or teams that have creative ideas cannot develop these ideas into profit-making businesses.

Currently, when a call for creative business ideas is released in Tehran, over 300 teams submit business plans but the situation is not the same in other provinces.

Interviews conducted by Financial Tribune with startup teams in Tehran reveal that many of the teams are not residents of Tehran but are forced to move to the costly capital to take their business ideas to the next level.

Barari noted that the ministry is planning to change the current trend in universities, which is to merely train graduate forces.

"We plan to promote knowledge-based companies that have their roots in universities. University students are full of creative ideas and this presents an excellent opportunity for creating businesses," he said.