EghtesadOnline: Several technology centers have come on stream in the northeastern province of Golestan to extend infrastructural support to fledgling startups and knowledge-based companies.
Vice President for Science and Technology Sorena Sattari inaugurated tech projects in Golestan Province and visited startups at the province’s academic centers during a daylong trip to Golestan on Saturday, the vice president’s website Isti.ir reported.
The first project was an innovation center specializing in health tech at Golestan University of Medical Sciences, which offers virtual visits for clinical diagnosis and post-treatment support and consultancy services.
The tech center is also seeking to provide technical, scientific and commercial support to innovative teams, aiding efforts to commercialize their ideas.
Reportedly, 16 tech teams and four knowledge-based companies are based in the university, producing microscope kits, liquid sanitizers, medicinal ointments and mouthwashes, as well as developing health-related smartphone applications.
Sattari also launched the first phase of an innovation factory in Golestan Tech Park, located in Gorgan City.
The project is the result of a multilateral agreement signed in September 2019 between the vice presidential office and the province's Governorate, Golestan Tech Park and Golestan Municipality.
The project covers a 1,200-square-meter area in the central part of the city.
According to Mehdi Ghaffari, the head of science and technology park, about 50 billion rials ($166,670) have been spent on the first phase of the project. He said the completion of the factory project requires 150 billion rials ($500,000).
Accelerators, startups, knowledge-based companies and investors can form a team and collaborate to promote entrepreneurship and produce technological products in different fields.
After the inaugural event, Sattari visited tech teams based at the center and the tech park where their latest tech achievements were exhibited.
Golestan Tech Park accommodates 36 knowledge-based companies and 95 tech teams, working on machinery, agriculture, electronic, chemical and herbal medicine, software, polymer and biotechnology.
Later the same day, Sattari launched a tech center at Islamic Azad University of Aliabad via videoconference. With the project, the university is joining the collective move toward developing a strong technology ecosystem, increasing employment and strengthening entrepreneurship in the province.
In addition, 10,000 square meters of land in Aq-Qala Industrial Park was allocated to 10 knowledge-based companies as a support for building and expanding their businesses. Another 6,000 square meters have been specified for the development of infrastructures required for the park.
Sattari also launched a provincial research and innovation fund in Golestan with an initial investment of 50 billion rials ($166,700).
The fund is tasked with offering low-interest lending to boost the implementation of innovative projects.
The vice president ended his trip to Golestan after unveiling a web television service, which is to harness its content from the province’s rural areas and stream them live across the country.
The TV service is aimed at beaming the beauty and peace of village life and promoting Iranian culture among the younger generation.
Pointing to the fact that Golestan is joining nationwide efforts to promote tech-based achievements, Sattari said still much work needs to be done in the province.
“The tech ecosystem in Golestan is expected to accelerate growth. The move definitely needs strong support from the vice presidential office to provincial officials. Golestan’s huge but untapped potential in the field should be put into practice,” he added.
Extending support to new startups and technology firms has been on the government's agenda since 2013 when President Hassan Rouhani started his first tenure.
Over the past few years, numerous tech parks and innovation factories have been established throughout the country to offer shared workspaces and other facilities to tech units.
Currently, there are seven tech parks in Tehran Province, most of which are backed by major Iranian universities, including Tarbiat Modares University, University of Tehran, Sharif University of Technology, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University and Islamic Azad University.
These tech parks carry the name of universities backing them.
Innovation factories in Tehran, such as Azadi and Highway, have also attracted numerous tech teams and startups.
Azadi Innovation Factory was launched in August 2018 at an abandoned chemicals factory near Azadi Square, west of Tehran. The center is backed by the Vice Presidential Office for Science and Technology and is managed by Sharif University of Technology.
Highway, the capital's second innovation factory, is under construction. The factory is being established in an old building near Nobonyad Square on the northeastern flank of Tehran.
Tehran is not alone in its push for establishing innovation factories and tech parks. Numerous centers have also been launched across Iran.
The vice presidential office is developing innovation factories in Iranian metropolises like Isfahan, Shiraz, Mashhad, Tabriz, Arak, Karaj and Yazd to expand the startup and knowledge-based ecosystems.
At the innovation factories, startups and knowledge-based companies find legal, technical and financial support to develop their activities.
With the extension of infrastructural and financial support, those who are active in the tech ecosystem are propelling Iran’s domestic production to end the economy’s oil dependency and help overcome sanctions.