EghtesadOnline: Government-backed Innovation and Prosperity Fund (NSFund) has said it will sponsor local knowledge-based firms to attend international events and expos.
The fund’s director Behzad Soltani says the move is aimed at promoting knowledge-based exports, Mehr News Agency reported.
Participating in international events provides local business the opportunity to pool minds, find foreign investors and build ties with their growing number of peers.
Affiliated to the Vice Presidential Office for Science and Technology the fund offers loans to the tune of 300 million rials ($7,500) to every applicant, according to Financial Tribune.
Subject to the financial status of the companies they can also benefit from grants.
He added, “All knowledge-based businesses that have registered with the Vice Presidential Office can register for the loans and grants.”
The fund so far has received 4,000 requests for loans of which 2,210 have been granted while 258 aid packages worth 1.26 trillion rials ($31.5 million) have been allocated to ICT businesses.
The fund recently sponsored several Iranian firms that participated in the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX 2017) in Dubai, Oct. 8-12.
The five-day annual technology event hosted over 450 businesses.
Iran was represented by 12 knowledge-based companies and 29 startups showcasing their products and services. Last year eight Iranian startups participated in the important regional event. Representatives from several countries held talks with Iranian innovators to access the possibility of collaboration in the key sector.
In addition to NSFund, other organizations also provided local startups with grants and loans to participate in GITEX 2017. Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines, and Agriculture supported 12 startups; six other were sponsored by Isfahan Chamber of Commerce and 10 by the ICT Guild Organization.
The list of startups selected by Tehran’s Chamber of Commerce included: Khabario (online news aggregator), Ninix (producer of baby monitoring devices), Zarinpal (the largest non-bank local payment application), QuantCan (market analytics service provider), Arizeh (online legal services), Dr. Robot (medical robotic assistant), Techhuber (a database of Iranian startups), Sahba (robot producer), Retain (B2C communication software developer), Simia (online services for Iranian expats), Redkala (online auction platform) and Dographic (application and website developer)
Simia Service signed a non-disclosure agreement with a UAE-based venture capital company.
NSFund also provides knowledge-based businesses with export loans at 9% — almost 9-12% lower than the interest rates charged by state banks and private lenders.
Soltani says “Knowledge-based companies may apply for this category of loans after they finalize an export deal with a foreign company. The loan amount will depend on the value of their contracts.”
The fund started operation in 2013 after President Hassan Rouhani took office. NSFund’s loans and investments amounted to 14.9 trillion rials ($397 million) over the past two years.