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EghtesadOnline: In a fresh effort to expand the technology ecosystem, Iran National Innovation Fund has offered aid packages to the tune of 200 billion rials ($1.7 million) to startups and tech firms active in East Azarbaijan Province, the head of INIF said on Friday.

Visiting the seventh Rab'e Rashidi Innovation and Technology Exhibition (also known as RINOTEX 2019) held from Nov. 4 to 8 at Tabriz International Exhibition Center, Ali Vahdat announced that the fund will help tech units in the province bridge their financial gaps until a stable financial source is established in East Azerbaijan. 

"Over 140 knowledge-based companies and numerous tech parks are active in the northwestern province. However, it's a pity they do not receive deserving and comprehensive support," Vahdat was quoted as saying on INIF’s website.

Vahdat noted that Aras Research and Technology Fund, inaugurated by the Vice Presidential Office for Science and Technology in Tabriz in mid June, does not appear to be efficient enough to fulfill the requirements of the provincial startups and tech firms, according to Financial Tribune.

"INIF is in negotiation with senior tech authorities to establish an integrated innovation center in the province to provide the required financial and technical resources, which will accelerate the firms' move toward development," he said.

Affiliated to the Vice Presidential Office, INIF became operational in 2013 after President Hassan Rouhani began his first term in office.

The Rouhani administration established the fund with an initial investment of 30 trillion rials ($260 million). As per the law, the government is required to allocate 0.5% of its annual budget to INIF.

The fund’s officials say INIF will continue to give financial support to fledgling tech firms. 



New Innovation Center

In a parallel event, an innovation center has been inaugurated at Science and Research Branch of Islamic Azad University of Tehran.

Launched on Saturday, the project was jointly organized by the Vice Presidential Office, university officials and Paradise Hub, a domestic company providing shared workspace to fledgling tech teams and emerging companies.

Reza Masoudi, the head of the university's Science and Research Branch, said the innovation center is 250 hectares wide and could accommodate 114 people.

"Some 14 knowledge-based firms have already moved to the center," Masoudi said.

The inauguration was attended by Sorena Sattari, the vice president for science and technology, and Mohammad Mehdi Tehranchi, dean of IAU.

In a meeting with heads of knowledge-based firms and startups, Mohammad Khorasani, an authority with the Vice Presidential Office, promised that challenges faced by the tech firms will be soon obviated to guarantee a smooth move towards development.

"Bureaucratic procedures of gaining permits, commercialization of technological products, insurance and customs are among the problems facing tech firms," he said. 

Supporting the technological ideas of developers and involving them in conventional industries have topped the government's agenda since President Hassan Rouhani started his first term in office in 2013.

Experts believe that promoting technological products and applying smart solutions in industrial sectors can curb Iran's reliance on oil revenues.


Iran tech firms Startups East Azarbaijan Azarbaijan Iran National Innovation Fund INIF aid packages Financial Support technology ecosystem