The Iranian Entrepreneurship Association uses GEI metrics to advance entrepreneurship in Iran

In Iran, one NGO has been busy for several years taking action that directly addresses bottlenecks in the Iranian entrepreneurial ecosystem, bottlenecks made visible with the Global Entrepreneurship Index (GEI).

The Iran Entrepreneurship Association (IEA) is a non-profit NGO fostering the entrepreneurial spirit in Iran. How have they applied the GEI in practice?

“We were able to use the metrics in that report to build partnerships with private and governmental institutions to further advance the needs of young entrepreneurs in Iran,” says Pouya Kondori, COO of IEA.

Both governmental and private institutions took actions based on Index findings through working with IEA, offering financial and other forms of help to IEA such as resources, planning and exchange of information to support entrepreneurship in the country. On the governmental side Vice-Presidency for Science and Technology, Iran Center of E-Commerce Development (ICeCD: responsible for overseeing, regulating and providing infrastructure for all online businesses in Iran) and Pardis Technology Park (located in east Tehran) offered support for IEA activities as they found the metrics in line with their national research.

On the private institutions side, Sarava Pars venture capital (founded in 2011 and active in developing internet and mobile based businesses), Avatech accelerator (located in Tehran University and active in online businesses) and also ANetwork co. (the top online advertising agency in Iran) supported IEA, as they believe the organization can help them to channel their funds with a better sight of the market and make better business decisions.

One of the ways IEA has been able to excel is bringing entrepreneurs together in networking events. In the past 12 months, IEA has organized or assisted with 39 Startup Weekends in 23 cities nationwide. IEA has have begun a weekly startup meetup in 7 cities – and this meetup regularly has hundreds of attendees.

IEA also organized Iran Web and Mobile Festival an event that brought together more than 1000 attendees from the IT entrepreneurship and VC spaces. 8000 websites and mobile applications competed in their 2014 event (Iran Web Festival) in 10 various online business fields.

Among their other successes:

  • In the last 12 months, 2 accelerators have been created in Tehran. These programs have incubated and invested in at least 20 early stage startups.
  • IEA organized an AngelLabs events with 20 angels interested in investing in early stage startups.

Last year Iran improved the most in GEI score of any country. With efforts like those of IEA, further progress is expected.