EghtesadOnline: Efforts are on track in Iranian metropolises Tehran and Tabriz to expand tech centers offering workspace and financial support to local startups.
During a Monday meeting held in Tehran, arrangements were made between Roads Ministry and New Towns Development Company to add a 327-hectare extension to Pardis Tech Park, the capital’s largest tech center.
The meeting was attended by Roads Minister Mohammad Eslami, his deputy Habibollah Taherkhani, a board member of NTDC, Zohreh Davoudpour, and senior officials, the government’s website President.ir reported.
Located in Pardis, a satellite town 20 km east of Tehran, the park has established by the Vice Presidential Office for Science and Technology, offering free and subsidized workspace for technology companies and emerging startups.
Mohammad Taqizadeh, a deputy of Tehran Governorate, told the local media that Pardis Tech Park is expected to be a driving force for modern urban development in the under-construction city.
“Therefore, expanding the park and making it more productive will help set up a knowledge-based city,” he said.
“The expansion project is aimed at encouraging the emergence of tech-based businesses and developing the technology ecosystem, which is gradually formed via a nationwide move.”
In mid-May, another project was kicked off for the expansion of Pardis Tech Park by 21 hectares.
The new center named “Entrepreneurship Pardis” is expected to become operational in the coming months.
The center is planned in 85 sections, including workspace for fledgling and professional startups developing high-tech products, research and development units, laboratories and workshops.
According to a media report, Shams Omran Company is the project contractor that gets consultancy from Tosseh Kalbodi Asia Consulting Engineers. The project is managed by Shora Consulting Engineers Company and financially supported by the vice presidential office.
Amin-Reza Khaleqian, the park’s head of international affairs office, said around 300 companies are currently settled in the park.
“With the opening of the new space, the number will rise further,” he said.
Khaleqian noted that absorbing companies and startups working on advanced medical equipment, information and communication technologies, electronics and their applications is high on the park’s priority.
The ultimate aim is to extend the park by up to 1,000 hectares and convert the technology park and its branches to an innovation zone,” he said.
Officials at the park believe the center can help establish up to five branches in the capital in the form of innovation factories.
Azadi and Highway are the park’s two already active branches.
Azadi Innovation Factory was launched in August 2018 at an abandoned chemicals factory near Azadi Square, west of Tehran. The factory is backed by the vice presidential office and managed by Sharif University of Technology.
Highway, the capital's second innovation factory, is still under construction but is partially operational. The factory is being established in an old building near Tehran’s Nobonyad Square.
Formerly owned by Iranian Space Agency, it is 5,000 square meters wide.
Early this week, a contract was signed by Sorena Sattari, the vice president for science and technology, and Mohammad Mehdi Tehranchi, the chancellor of Islamic Azad University, to establish a new technology-oriented university in the park’s premises.
Sharing resources and optimizing the park’s capacities were among the contract issues, which are aimed at creating a more efficient symbiosis among the academia, tech enterprises and the industrial sector.
With the support of the Vice Presidential Office for Science and Technology, an innovation factory will be constructed in Tabriz.
According to Saeed Gharib-Khajeh, the head of Rab’e Rashidi Tech Zone in the city, if the project receives sufficient financial resources, it will become operational next summer.
“Tabriz Municipality is committed to prepare 12,000 square meters of area with all the infrastructures required for the project,” he added.
The expansion of tech horizons in Tabriz has gained momentum among local and state authorities in the past few years.
In August 2019, the local media reported that the city is to house a digital economy park, as part of plans to boost technological development, spread awareness, disseminate information and help curb the country’s reliance on the unstable oil export revenue.
According to ICT Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, the park is to bring together and support technology firms and startups active in diverse areas, including agriculture, industries, education, urban services and tourism, apart from encouraging businesses to embrace digitalization for boosting their efficiency and growth.
"Startups and tech firms can develop smart solutions to upgrade traditional agriculture. For instance, by developing smart drip irrigation and developing solutions based on internet of things technology, the startups can give the sector a much-needed boost," he said.
The ministry is coordinating efforts with provincial authorities to designate the park’s location.