EghtesadOnline: Iran National Innovation Fund intends to offer local knowledge-based companies aid packages to the tune of 500 billion rials ($3.8 million) in the form of loans to empower tech companies in the country.
The aid packages offered to fledgling tech companies are hoped to boost their activities both domestically and internationally, Tasnim News Agency reported.
Rouhollah Estiri, an official with the Vice Presidential Office for Science and Technology, says the financial aid is part of INIF's support plans for emerging startups and tech companies.
"During February-May, INIF offered 2.69 trillion rials [$20 million] in loans to help emerging startups flourish," Financil Tribune quoted him as saying.
INIF noted that 18 academic institutions across the country have helped the fund identify fast-growing tech teams and facilitate the loan allocation.
In addition to the loans, startup accelerators have also received support, including workspace and technical equipment.
The fund aims to develop the country’s startup ecosystem, encourage large industrial units to join and promote the export of knowledge-based products.
However, a clear definition of which businesses qualify as knowledge-based in Iran is still not in place, since the term is applied to startups, tech firms and even auto parts makers.
Vice Presidential Office for Science and Technology says 4,229 knowledge-based firms have so far been registered by the office and their names are available on its website, Isti.ir.
This is while some experts believe offering loans and grants is the worst kind of help that can be offered to a fledgling startup or tech company.
“Over time, they will get deep in the red and instead of relying on their own resources and capabilities, they will seek more and more of the same," Shayan Shalileh, secretary of Iran E-Commerce Union, told Financial Tribune in January.
“Instead of loans, the government should focus on taming the bloated bureaucracy, cut insurance costs for startups and offer tax holidays,” he added.