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EghtesadOnline: The first edition of the Startup Entrepreneurs Conference was held at the National Library of Iran earlier in the week.

It brought together entrepreneurs, startup aficionados, press corps and other enthusiasts of Iran’s startup sector, itiran.com reported.

The secretary of the event, Akbar Hashemi, said the meeting sought to bring together the large family of entrepreneurs and startup experts “to discuss opportunities and challenges” in the globally- expanding industry in a friendly and harmonious environment.

He added that the event is expected to be held annually on the last day of Autumn every year.

 Entrepreneurs, National Heroes      

The event featured three panels, the first panel ‘entrepreneurs, national heroes’, brought together managers from Iran’s top startups. Speakers included Mohammad Javad Shakoori Moghadam CEO of Saba Idea Company and founder of video streaming network Aparat, Saeed Mohammadi founder of e-commerce company Digikala and Shahram Shahkar CEO of ride-hailing service Snapp.

Shahkar noted that job-creation is only one of the results of entrepreneurship and stressed that the main goal should be to generate value, according to Financial Tribune.

He pointed to the competition between Internet-based businesses and their traditional counterparts. “The two businesses could work together and create new, more comprehensive solutions with higher quality.”

Traditional businesses should take the opportunity and compete with Internet-based businesses by offering customer-friendly services, he was quoted as saying.

Digikala’s Mohammadi noted that entrepreneurship is crucial for the growth and development of a nation. The promotion of value-based entrepreneurship can and will solve many social problems, he said.

“The most important issues that young entrepreneurs must bear in mind is to maintain a positive attitude, have confidence in themselves and not lose hope.” He added that in this time and age businesses must make use of technology to be able to move forward and ensure growth.   

Pointing to some recent opposition regarding Iran’s startup sector, he said it is not right to judge a business before having assessed it thoroughly and having a deep understanding about it.

The startup scene in Iran has come under heavy criticism by certain sources who have labeled it as western infiltration project.

He said businesses are being wrongly targeted and stressed that “Internet-based businesses have some of the most clear and straightforward business models” and this environment should not be disrupted with deception and half-truths.

 Innovation Centers & Accelerators

The second panel discussions focused on innovation centers and accelerators. Key speakers were Mohsen Malayeri, CEO of Avatech, and Hamzed Qotbinejad, CEO of Know-Tech, to name a few.

Malayeri highlighted the need and significance of team work in the success of a startup business.

“There are many overlapping ideas out there but what indeed distinguishes one from the other is its ability to work as a team and stay focused.”

Qotbinejad said Know-Tech is making strong efforts to help build closer collaboration between universities and industry and market. “Our goal is to promote scientific research and create market demand for the outcome of research work.

He said the environment should exist so that the youth can be encouraged in Iran rather than leave the country for greener pastures. The unnecessary, unwanted and unhelpful  challenges and constraints must be removed in the interest of the nation and coming generations, he said.

 Funding

The last panel centered on providing funds for new-found businesses. Keynote speakers on this panel were Shahab Javanmardi CEO of Fanap and Reza Zarnokhi CEO of the Technology Development Fund of Iran.

Javanmardi noted that less than 1 trillion rials ($250 million) has been invested in Iranian startups so far. “We indeed expect this number to grow substantially over the next decade.  

Zarnokhi told the conferees that the Vice President’s Office for Science and Technology along with Iran’s Stock Exchange are working  “to devise new regulations that can facilitate investments in new businesses.”  

The document says that in line with efforts to develop Iran’s economy “we will make an effort to increase productivity based on knowledge and innovation.”

They urged those in charge to curb the bloated bureaucracy and remove the obstacles hindering the business growth.

Iran startups