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Parviz Karami in an Interview with Fars News Agency:
The Three Sides of the Triangle Stand in the Economy of Resistance
Advisor to the vice president for science and technology announced the planning for turning ruined factories into innovation and technology centers.
According to the public relations and information center of the Vice-Presidency for science and technology affairs quoted by the journalist of the Fars News Agency academic group, the word “startup” is repeatedly heard these days. This word can transform any country and can be very influential in any country"s economy. Startup means a new company formed based on technology, the owners of which are eager to create a business in the society that produces value added. This type of business must be sustainable and based on knowledge.
Meanwhile, attention to new companies can affect the economic growth and development of any country and has many effects on the economic transformation of companies. Therefore, the scientific authorities of Iran have constantly emphasized this issue and have paved the way for knowledge-based companies’ development. This improvement has been so good that the talented youth of the country have attempted to establish startups. According to the statistics showing the emergence of six thousand startups in the country, the activities of the youth have been considered successful.
In this regard, we interviewed Parviz Karami, the advisor to the vice president for science and technology affairs and the secretary of the knowledge-based economy and culture-building technologies development headquarter. Karami talked about the development of the startup space in Iran and turning it into the best regional startup space. He also explained the role of startups in the realization of production improvement and enhancement of people’s quality of life.
Some of the most important points covered in this interview with Karami include:
* Role of startups in the realization of production improvement
* A ruined building that was turned into a suitable place for the economy of the country with the help of startups
* Major players of innovation and technology ecosystem
* Importance of presence of startups in the lives of people
* Successful startups that have entered the lives of people
* Three resistance sides to stand in tough economic days
* Necessity of presence of people in startup fields
*Iran, the Regional Startup Heaven
Fars: they say that Iran is the regional startup heaven. How much do you agree with this claim?
Karami: yes, that is true. Iran has the best startups in the region. Today, there are six thousand startups in the country, in a way that we can say that Iran’s startup space is much better than the startup space of other regional countries.
Iran has the suitable capacity of human resources, knowledge-based companies, innovation centers, accelerators, venture capitals, and large domestic and foreign markets to be better in the region
With more than 4500 knowledge-based companies, 195 innovation centers, 90 accelerators, 20 venture capitals, 45 science and technology parks, famous universities, some of which have a global rank, six thousand startups, a large domestic market, and populous neighboring countries, which are similar to us in terms of civil and cultural backgrounds, why should not be the startup heaven of the region? This large capacity has played a definite role in turning Iran into the best regional startup space.
*The reason for a better startup space in Iran, compared to other regional countries
Fars: However, what has Iran been doing that you think is currently upgrading the status of Iran in the regional level?
Karami: entering the innovation and technology ecosystem was started by the statements of the Supreme Leader. The Vice-Presidency has designed several programs for this area, attempting to provide the necessary foundations for the growth of startups and development knowledge-based companies more than ever.
We are first in the region and this is due to the number of startups, providing the necessary infrastructure for this purpose in the country, including upgrading hardware, software, expanding the startup environment in universities, and strengthening the specialized human resources in the country.
The large unused environment that was virtually out of the cycle and even harmful to the urban environment was restored by startups. One can even count on this disastrous environment to help the country"s economy. Today, they are the centers of innovation and technology.
* Ruins that were turned into a facilitator of the economy with the help of startups
Fars: could you please provide an example?
Karami: the best actual example would be the inauguration of the Tehran Innovation factory in Azadi Square. This place is restored and has become the home to many startups, who help the country’s economy. Entering into the field of creation of innovation centers and factories in metropolises and provincial capitals by utilizing abandoned and unused factories within cities and transforming them into startups and production centers have been carried out to meet the country"s needs and problems through their refurbishment and renovation. This will lead to the improvement of the urban environment, the elimination of environmental disaster, and the innovation and employment of the educated strata of society through the influence of technology, innovation, and smart cities.
In other words, the ruins of the capital have been turned into a facilitator of economy. One per 10 industrial sheds are allocated to an accelerator working in various knowledge-based and startup fields. There are five start-ups at Azadi Innovation Factory in the fields of artificial intelligence, biotech, creative and cultural industries, tourism and medical tourism, IT, and Fintech.
Fars: what types of activities?
Karami: accelerators based in Azadi Innovation Factory are active in the fields of biotech, urbanism, artificial intelligence, fintech, and other areas.
Fars: does the location of the factory (in this case, the Azadi Square) increase its success?
Karami: yes. The fact that the innovation and technology factory has been established near the top universities of the country (i.e., Sharif, Tehran, and Amirkabir Universities) helps the young and creative Iranian human resources better work in this field.
It is notable that other innovative factories have been formed in various provinces of the country.
The Vice-Presidency works on technology commercialization as well, and a part of its activities is dedicated to the development of this ecosystem.
* Who are the main players of the innovation and technology ecosystem?
Fars: could you please explain about the innovation and technology ecosystem?
Karami: I want to talk about the general space of startups and the knowledge-based field and how many people work in the area.
Fars: who are the players of the field?
Karami: one of the players is universities, whose responsibility is training experts and specialized human resources. Science and technology parks are other players in the field. Today, we have at least one science and technology park in each growth center, which can positively affect the development of the innovation and technology ecosystem.
Universities, science and technology parks, growth centers, venture capitals, and accelerators are the major players in the innovation and technology ecosystem.
On the other hand, venture capitals and accelerators are active in the country to help develop knowledge-based companies and their activities in the production field. In fact, accelerators can be considered as the main players of the ecosystem. Nevertheless, all of these organizations must work together to increase activities in this field.
*Tangible presence of startups in people’s lives
Fars: in your opinion, are startups improved in a way that their presence could be felt in people’s lives?
Karami: yes. Of course, in some cases, such as startups in the IT field, this impact has become more visible to people. For example, people use online taxis on a daily basis. However, future startups will provide other services to people and will improve their welfare.
Without a doubt, people will more feel the presence of startups in their lives in the near future.
Currently, in addition to the transportation field, startups have made great improvements in other areas, such as meteorology, agriculture, aerospace, and others. Soon, people will more use startup products.
*Which areas’ startups have more successfully entered the lives of people?
We can say that startups in the field of services have had acceptable activities and a good process during this time. People are satisfied with and have accepted their services and use them in their works. They use them in their everyday work, but our specialized startups need to be strengthened to have more product-driven startups and boost production.
About 70 startups in the aerospace field have presented applicable products and have had improvements in the field.
The innovation and technology ecosystem cannot be improved without the statements of the Supreme Leader and without the support of the people.
Of course, in my opinion, families should also think about having a startup themselves, that is, identifying a need and providing an idea to solve it, in addition to using startups in their lives.
*People will enter the startup field
Fars: is that possible?
Karami: yes, any person who can identify the society’s needs and provide ideas about them can do that. However, it is notable that startups have been associated with many failures but perseverance and determination have helped them solve their problems.
*Three sides of persistence in hard economic days
In my opinion, people, startups and authorities are three sides of the triangle of resistance and persistence in hard economic days. In this regard, the authorities must provide services to facilitate people’s affairs. Startups provide endogenous products with their dynamism and people support these two sides.
*Realization of improving production through startups
I believe that production will be boosted by these startups, as emphasized by the Supreme Leader. The innovation and technology ecosystem cannot be improved without the implementation of the statements of the Supreme Leader and without people’s support. On the other hand, innovation and creativity of idea owners and startups must be a principle in the ecosystem.
In my opinion, our society, with a large number of specialist human resources and the production of good science in various fields of science, especially converging sciences and technologies, should move towards greater effort and action and contribute to the global market for wealth creation through science to gain added value.
Iran must move from the oil-based economy and selling underground resources to a knowledge-based economy with more power. Meanwhile, the role of the people as the supporter and engine of this economy is extremely important in supporting national production and purchasing Iranian goods.