Hamshahri; Media Startup Accelerator
Today, the traditional newspaper production trend does not provide a clear vision for the print media. Dependence on paper and the printing process has become a major problem for print media around the world. This situation has led the managers of all print media to consider using new methods and technologies to keep newspapers alive.
One of these methods is using new technologies, and as the largest media agency in the country, Hamshahri Institution has aimed to establish an innovation center so that individuals and startup teams can put their media ideas into action and turn them into products.
Parviz Karami, the secretary of the headquarters for culture knowledge-based economy, expressed that he has put especial hope in Hamshahri to work as a media accelerator. This long-standing institution can be a leader in expanding the use of new technologies in the country's media.
Hamshahri Media Innovation Center has been formed with the cooperation of the Vice-Presidency. What are the goals of this startup ecosystem?
When we talk about an innovation center, we are actually referring to an accelerator. The accelerator’s main task is to support the ideas of creative, student and optimistic youth in one area so that these ideas can be put into practice. The Vice-Presidency provides counseling and legal support for creative companies through accelerators.
In fact, “Hamshahri” has established this innovation center to allocate and meet the needs of the field. “The media innovation center” calls for various needs and subjects and attracts students and their ideas. Afterwards, it creates and monitors teams and supports them financially and legally. For example, this center provides a place for students and provides facilities for them. The Innovation Center then either attracts the investor for these ideas or the investment firm itself to turn an idea into a product. This product may be a software technology or a specific service or product. By doing so, Hamshahri conducts its social responsibilities, meeting its own needs and using modern technologies in media field simultaneously.
In your opinion, how much have the media been able to use new technologies?
We currently have witnessed the serious use of voices and videos in the media. We have not yet been able to use our resources in this area. Examples are AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) technologies that have entered the field of media. Today, the optimistic, hard-working and searching force that can do it is studying in our universities. For instance, students can use artificial intelligence in the field of media and create new jobs in this field. Media is not merely for journalists anymore and news are produced and spread in seconds. Utilizing technologies and adapting this production and publishing to modern technologies and hiring it can be done by people who are now scattered in our universities and their absorption and team building and turning their ideas into the product of the Media Innovation Center.
Startup teams may be present in the field of AR, but they have not entered the media field since it deals with economic issues. In this case, do you help the center to identify and attract these teams?
We will definitely help. However, an important point must be made. After CoronaPlus and helping startups in corona field, we implemented the StartupPlus program, which is similar to the media innovation center. However, it operates in emerging technologies such as blockchain, augmented reality, virtual reality, smart homes, smart cities, the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence. In addition, inputs are through bootcamps, and those using the bootcamps can benefit from 50% facilities. We provide subsidies of 10 million Tomans for undergraduate and up to 50 million Tomans for doctorate for universities that have dissertations in this field. In addition, up to 500 million Tomans will be given to companies that work in seven newly emerged technological fields. Venture capitals will also receive up to 300 million Tomans financial facilities with the help of Iran innovation foundation. In fact, we want to create a link between industry, academia and the needs of society. They do not have a government context, in fact they have a context that they do ecologically. Innovation centers, startups and innovation factories do this task. In the field of media, anyone who is in charge and knows this field, has physical assets, manpower, managerial power and policy makers, including Hamshahri, was our target that we have achieved today.
Do you mean that you have seriously added the media field to the country's startup ecosystem like other fields?
That is exactly true. The media are changing and influential in our political, social, cultural and economic life. Our country must be up to date if it wants to be on the path of progress.
Today, there are other media innovation centers. For instance, a center has been opened in Sharif Innovation Station and you just said that journalists are working on a new center. Do these centers interact and can they complete this ecosystem?
Yes, their work overlaps but they do not perform parallel work. The mentioned center is active in the field of content production, television and media. It was a news agency in the field of virtual media and news agencies, and Hamshahri is in the field of print media. However, we should not forget that these cases are formed for the first time in Iran. I hope healthy competition is formed at the same time as work and effort and they can compete with each other. The benefits of this issue go back to the community and students who are graduates of this field and do not imagine any job market for themselves. A student who has an idea in the field of media and is sure that he can implement it but does not have a sponsor or investor, can refer to these innovation centers and turn his idea into a product.
A report by the public relations and information center of the Vice-Presidency for science and technology affairs