How Iran’s startup sector can realize its potential

Al-Monitor | : Experts agree that the promotion of knowledge-based startups would be a suitable remedy to address the intensifying unemployment in Iran. In fact, with youth unemployment at 27.5%, the Iranian authorities need to look for opportunities to create jobs for the country’s young, educated and tech-savvy population. While in recent years a considerable growth has been recorded in information technology (IT) startups and related investments, the actual level of activity is well below the potential that this sector offers.

To be fair to the Iranian authorities, much has been done in the past few years in order to address the more technical issues faced by IT startups. Higher educational realities have always offered good opportunities in technical fields and in recent years they have been further expanded to address the needs of knowledge-based enterprises. Furthermore, most reputable public universities have engaged in creating incubators and accelerators to promote the establishment of startups. This endeavor has been complemented by private sector initiatives and through various events and programs, both official and business sector entities have tried to create a space for greater interaction between the main stakeholders, i.e., young entrepreneurs, municipal and national officials and potential investors. Nonetheless, shortcomings remain and a failure to address them will undermine the country’s potential in this sector.

An analytical approach to the challenges faced by startups shows that some are general and related to the business and political culture in the country, but some are specific to the field of IT and new technologies.

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