Sci & Tech

Iran Gov't Backing Science-Based Entrepreneurship

The government is pushing ahead with plans to help science-based startups
A science park outside Tehran.A science park outside Tehran.
39 technology parks and 3,000 science-based companies are operating in Iran

Iran's science-based firms have exported goods worth $500 million since 2013, according to one official with knowledge of the subject.

The outgoing administration has been one of the strong backers of knowledge-based companies as they are a valid source for promoting entrepreneurship and putting the army of jobless on the payroll.

The Minister of Science, Research and Technology Mohammad Farhadi, announced the four-year export revenue in a valedictory speech at the closing ceremony of the 13th Sheikh Bahai Technopreneurship Festival over the weekend in the central city of Isfahan, Mehr News Agency reported.

Farhadi said "39 technology parks and 3,000 science-based companies are now operating in Iran. Iran has 2,500 centers of higher education teaching science-based courses."

He added that the administration is in the process of promoting 'third generation universities.'

A third generation university is a global trend for the integration of universities and business; they are seen as a way for universities to have a source of income from research conducted on their campus. Courses in these educational institutions are responsive to modern demands, providing courses like computer gaming, programming and micro-science.

Farhadi did not elaborate on the government's moves to push this agenda and sufficed with generalities and praise for the scheme.

Upholding Modern Needs

The move by the Rouhani government is part of a wider push from ruling establishments in Asia and Africa to build universities more compatible with modern needs, rather than creating centers just for issuing degrees.

During the ceremony the head of the Innovation and Prosperity Fund, Behzad Soltani, said, “The fund has cut  the interest rate [on loans to companies] from the previous 11% to 9%,” or in tandem with the average rate of inflation.

New startups and science based companies biggest obstacle is funding for developing their projects into viable business, which can normally take up to three years.

The fund also offers incentives and loans to science-based companies exporting services and high-tech products.

Businesses can apply for the loans based on documents on the goods that they have already exported or an official contract with a foreign company indicating that they will be  exporting soon.

Knowledge and science based startups account for 0.8% of Iran’s gross domestic product

Startups account for more than 8% of all the knowledge-based companies in Iran, yet they generate 72% of the entire sales of knowledge-based products.

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology last year set up a “science corridor” formally called the Center for Information and Communications Technology in Tehran and Alborz provinces.

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