EghtesadOnline: State and private institutions should jointly contribute to boosting startups and knowledge-based companies that have a huge untapped potential.
“Startups can boost domestic production and curb the country's reliance on foreign resources,” the head of Iran's Municipalities and Village Administrators said.
Mehdi Jamalinejad added that a new generation of entrepreneurs with totally different working strategies and levels of innovation are expanding their role in the domestic economy, ISNA reported.
“If this human treasury is employed in more executive and managerial roles, knotty problems facing the country will hopefully be solved more quickly and efficiently,” he said.
"Industrial and urban managers should start counting on the young talented generation and slash their dependency on the government's financial assistance and oil revenues."
Jamalinejad noted that this could only be possible if the technology ecosystem in the country receives a deserving amount of attention and support.
Babak Dinparast, a deputy interior minister, told reporters that the ground should be prepared for knowledge-based companies and startups to expand their roles in the domestic economy and cut unnecessary imports.
He said a list of over 4,000 imported raw materials with no domestically-made substitute have been prepared by the ministry.
"We are planning to introduce these materials in a small exhibition and invite all tech firms and knowledge-based companies from around the country to analyze the possibility of their localization," he said.
Dinparast noted that raw materials needed in different industrial fields are currently imported from 40 countries.
Iranian entrepreneurs and tech units can definitely produce quality equivalents and cut the imports’ capital flight, he added.
Production Is Solution
The nationwide call is in line with the motto of the Iranian New Year (started March 20).
Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has named the new Iranian year, which began 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 main and pivotal 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.
US President Donald Trump's pullout from the 2015 international nuclear deal with Tehran last year and subsequent reimposition of financial, industrial and energy sanctions have sent the rial into a tailspin.
The weak currency, galloping inflation and diminishing purchasing power have been vexing Iranians in recent months.
“Economic challenges such as the decline in production and the currency’s value can be partly attributed to economic mismanagement, which should be fixed," he said, reiterating that boosting production is key to solving problems besetting the country.
Solutions for Streamlining Startup Growth
Knowledge-based companies and startups are facing numerous hardships.
Iran’s Vice President for Science and Technology Sorena Sattari, a staunch supporter of startups, earlier suggested several measures to obviate their problems.
Sattari emphasized the necessity of helping the growth of tech units in the country and said knowledge-based firms and startups need not grapple with basic requirements.
“Tech units should not be worried about the lack of a workplace. In case there is any incomplete or abandoned building, my office will finance their restoration for startup use,” he said.
“Insurance and taxes should be waived for tech units. Establishing an office to specifically address such issues can help them get rid of frustrating processes and extra expenses.”
The vice president stressed that financial resources should be adequate to meet the units’ financial needs in the form of loans and grants.
Sattari emphasized that promoting a knowledge-based economy is the most efficient and affordable strategy to address the current economic headwinds and remove impediments in the way of boosting domestic production.
For promoting a knowledge-based economy, Iranian officials believe that the conventional oil-based economic system should be upgraded and the country’s dependence on natural resource revenues must be minimized.
To achieve this aim, authorities have been taking measures to support tech firms and startups, boost Iranian startups and develop the technology ecosystem.
Establishing shared workplaces and offering financial aid are among services offered to knowledge-based units besides technical, legal and commercial consultancy.