EghtesadOnline: Several technology centers have been launched in the shrine city of Mashhad, the provincial center of Khorasan Razavi, to boost the local startup ecosystem.
During a Tuesday trip to the city, Vice President for Science and Technology Sorena Sattari inaugurated the centers, visited local innovative units and surveyed their products, Isti.ir reported.
The first center coming on stream was an innovation center and accelerator called “Shetab-e Ideh” (meaning “boosting ideas”). It will support and commercialize startup ideas in the fields of energy, construction, art, urban development, industrial design, tourism and architecture. So far, 12 startup teams have settled in the center.
Sattari also launched a startup accelerator called Kalomin, specializing in market analysis, customer services and business management.
The accelerator is planning to create a competitive atmosphere in the local market to help consumers make cost-effective purchases.
Later, Sattari visited small-scale exhibitions of tech products developed by local knowledge-based units at Toos Industrial Zone and unveiled several health-industry products of Ehya Darman Company.
The company has made a hydrogen peroxide sterilization device for disinfecting medical devices and hospital rooms. An oxygen ventilator for medical treatments and a high-pressure pump for seawater desalination were also unveiled. These products have received state and private financial support for mass production and nationwide supply.
Ehya Darman is also working on the localization of CT scan machines.
Sattari also inaugurated a tech laboratory complex at the province’s Tech Park. The complex has 12 workshops that have attracted 10 teams so far.
Speaking at the event, the official undermined the role of tech companies and creative industries in promoting local sustainable development.
“Science and technology centers are key elements to promoting the entrepreneurial ecosystem and its prosperity, which helps turn the ideas of innovative and indigenous youth into knowledge-based businesses,” he said.
Sattari noted that preparing the ground for entrepreneurship is vital for supporting innovative groups.
Calling on provincial officials for their cooperation, he said the outstanding technology potentials of the province should be tapped.
Similar Projects in Mashhad
In early January, an innovation factory came on stream in Mashhad to gather startups, knowledge-based companies and accelerators in a small-scale ecosystem and devise smart solutions for industries and businesses.
Located near Ferdowsi University, the innovation center with two industrial units is spread over 3.7 hectares.
“An abandoned soft drinks factory has been repurposed and retrofitted. The factory offers shared workspace, laboratory, innovation rooms for children, training hall, amphitheater, content development class, network development service center and a café,” Sattari said at the inauguration.
“The former soft drinks factory is one of the oldest industrial buildings in the city. Turning a literally idle space into a center for nourishing the innovative ideas of youths is an unparalleled event in the history of Mashhad,” he added.
The factory is tasked with commercializing the business ideas of startups and generate income for the teams and added value for the city.
Officials believe that its proximity to the university would give startups an opportunity to interact with the academia and use their knowledge and experience.
Universities have also extended support to the technology ecosystem by allowing access to campus areas and extending financial support to innovative teams.
Sharif University of Technology in Tehran and Astan Quds Razavi, a charitable organization in Khorasan Razavi Province, has launched an innovation factory adjacent to Mashhad’s Ferdowsi University.
The center is specialized in the renovation of medical equipment and clinical devices, which will help save $420 million annually.
Numerous tech parks and innovation factories have been set up across the country over the past few years to provide shared workspace and other facilities to tech units.
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 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.
In its drive to establish innovation factories and tech parks, Tehran is not alone. Numerous centers across Iran have also been founded.
The vice presidential office is developing innovation factories in Iranian metropolises like Zanjan, Isfahan, Tabriz, Karaj and Yazd to expand startup and knowledge-based ecosystems.
At the innovation factories, startups and knowledge-based companies find legal, technical and financial help to develop their activities.
With the expansion of infrastructural and financial support, those involved in the tech ecosystem are pushing Iran's domestic manufacturing sector to end its reliance on oil business and help bypass sanctions.