EghtesadOnline: In an effort to develop the domestic technology ecosystem, a tech zone has been launched in the central province of Isfahan early this week.
The zone is jointly financed and established by the Vice Presidential Office for Science and Technology, the University of Isfahan and the private sector, Financial Tribune reported.
During an inaugural event held on Saturday, Sorena Sattari, the vice president for science and technology, visited the newly established zone spread over 32 hectares, Isti.ir reported.
The tech zone houses different sections, including entertainment technologies, accelerators, laboratories, an exhibition corridor and special working spaces for fledgling startups.
Speaking at the event, Sattari said that in addition to motivating talented students to set up technology teams and introduce new business models, the tech zone should be able to attract knowledge-based firms operating in and around Isfahan.
He admired the university authorities for their endeavors to support tech ecosystem in the province and said, "The vice presidential office is ready to allocate financial resources for further equipping the zone and helping the tech units develop their activities."
About 40 tech units have already moved into the zone.
The project has been implemented at a cost of 50 billion rials ($370,000).
The tech zone resembles a project launched in the Iranian capital, Tehran, in January 2019.
Sharif University of Technology and Tehran Municipality jointly developed an “Innovation Zone” in central Tehran to house startups and emerging technology firms.
The zone is built on 250 hectares that incorporate the prestigious center of higher learning and its Science and Technology Park to assist startups, knowledge-based firms and tech companies.
At the unveiling ceremony, guidelines were published to introduce the zone's advantages and investment potentials to private firms.
To help boost the zone's status and effectiveness, Sattari, Tehran Mayor Pirouz Hanachi and Sharif University signed trilateral agreements.
So far, over 500 startups have set up offices in the zone.
The establishment of tech centers and innovation factories has gained momentum across Iran over the past several years.
The move has accelerated since President Hassan Rouhani began his first term in office in 2013 and focused on extending greater support to new startups and technology firms.
Over the past few years, numerous tech parks have been established throughout the country.
Naturally, the Iranian capital city, Tehran, pioneers the trend with two innovation factories.
The first of its kind in the metropolis, dubbed 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 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 in northeastern Tehran.
Besides Tehran, the vice presidential office has financed several other innovation factories in Iranian metropolises to expand the startup and knowledge-based ecosystems.
According to Qaderifar, innovation factory projects in the provinces of Markazi and Fars are almost complete and will become operational in the coming months.
The Roads and Urban Development Ministry, municipalities and governorates in the host cities are assisting the vice presidential office in implementing these projects.
At the innovation factories, startups and knowledge-based companies find legal, technical and financial support to expand their activities.
The government is optimistic that giving financial, technical and spiritual support to firms can help them expand their businesses and consequently curb the country's reliance on oil-based revenues.
Sattari says Iran has more than 4,700 knowledge-based companies, which have earned 1 quadrillion rials ($7.4 billion) from the export of technological products in the first half of the current Iranian year (started March 2019).
The income has been on an upward trajectory over the past several years, increasing from 600 trillion rials ($4.4 billion) in the fiscal year ending March 2018 to 900 trillion rials ($6.6 billion) last year, he added.
Sattari emphasized that the figures prove that the solution to economic hardships facing Iran today can be found inside and not outside the country.