EghtesadOnline: A large portion of Iranian startups and knowledge-based companies are focused on information and communications technologies, Vice Presidential Office for Science and Technology’s survey showed.
Results of a recent survey indicate that the number of knowledge-based companies in Iran has reached 5,547, of which 1,418 are working on ICT, 1,267 on machinery and equipment, and 1,111 on electric and electronic products, Tasnim News Agency reported.
The office announced that the development of medical equipment has the lowest priority among knowledge-based firms. Only 199 units are specialized in the production of health-related equipment, the report says.
Biotechnology, medicines and medical devices, as well as the production of chemicals are the next least favored fields of activity.
According to the vice presidential office’s report published on its website, in the past decade, 6,000 startups and 1,013 innovative firms have been established nationwide, besides the knowledge-based units.
Tech experts and officials believe more financial support should be directed to the field to increase the number of knowledge-based companies working on healthcare.
The rising Covid-19 cases and casualties have also encouraged the Iranian tech sector to help upgrade medical services and boost the development of digital health industry.
Farshad Allameh, a professor at Tehran University of Medical Sciences, said Iran’s healthcare sector offers considerable untapped potentials for digital growth.
“Knowledge-based companies and technology teams should value the opportunity, adapt their output to the medical sector’s demands and upgrade treatment services with smart ideas,” he said.
According to Allameh, Iran’s technology ecosystem is able to upgrade the treatment process, improve interactions between physicians and patients, and bolster the supply of medicines and medical equipment by developing smart solutions.
Allameh noted that Iran has a massive health market and industry insiders should broaden their horizon to international levels.
Domestic knowledge-based firms and startups have developed smart platforms for supplying telemedicine, smart health platforms and remote care tools to help people cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Synapse, for instance, a tech firm at Samsung AUT Tech (an affiliate of Amir Kabir University of Technology) specialized in equipping hospitals with smart technologies, has devised a system that converts the documented information of patients and converts them into digital data.
The database is connected to Synapse’s smartphone application called “InLab” that can be used by physicians and other medical staff.
The app gives doctors remote access and helps them review patients’ pathological tests and write prescriptions.
The report further shows that 3,654 knowledge-based companies have managed to start production lines for a wide range of products.
These firms have helped bolster domestic production, curb the impact of sanctions and bridge the demand-supply gap in the local market.
As per its criteria, including the level of technology involved, the office has sorted startups and knowledge-based companies in four categories.
According to its classification, 3,030 firms are growing into major producers of technological items and 624 firms have produced outstanding prototypes of tech items by seeking financial resources and marketing support.
Officials believe that these production units help ease economic hardships under the US sanctions regime, as their high potentials curb the domestic industries’ dependence on foreign suppliers.
Knowledge-based companies aim to manufacture low-cost products with advanced technologies in health, pharmaceutical, agriculture, aerospace, automotive and machinery production, chemical and ICT fields. Most of the items used to be imported at exorbitant prices.
The report further shows that 500 products are in the idea-development stage and 1,393 have officially launched a business, as they are keen to attract investors and start production.
It offers a clear overview of Iran’s knowledge-based ecosystem to fledgling units charting the unknown waters.
Parviz Karami, an official with the vice presidential office, earlier told reporters that professionals and elite students form the strong core of startups and their synergy guarantees bright prospects.
“An increasing number of outstanding Iranian students and experts are being absorbed by local tech firms. Currently, they are present in 139 startups,” he added.
Theoretically, a knowledge-based company is focused on knowledge creation, acquisition, learning, sharing, integrating and undertaking production to achieve economic and social targets.
Support from the Iranian government, academia, armed forces and major industrial units has prepared the ground for the emergence and growth of startups and knowledge-based companies, which numbers are increasing day-by-day.
All the efforts are in line with the motto of the Iranian New Year.
Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has named the new Iranian year, which started on March 20, the year of "Boosting Production" to help shore up Iran's sanctions-hit economy without relying on other countries.
"This year, production is the crucial issue because an increase in production will help solve livelihood problems and unemployment, and make the country independent of foreigners and enemies. It can also help resolve the problem of the national currency’s devaluation to a great extent," the Leader was quoted as saying by his website.
The tech ecosystem is expected to curb Iran’s dependency on oil revenues and make the country a tech exporter.
To achieve this goal, the ecosystem needs wide-ranging support and facilities.