The regulations on applying for knowledge based companies first showed up in Iran’s parliament in 2003, to promote the countries knowledge economy and the advancement of technology and science in the country.
Companies that successfully get registered as a knowledge based have the luxury of getting special treatments, facilities and governmental grants which include a tempting 15 years of tax exempt, science labs, spaces at techno parks, loans, exempt on import and custom tax and more. Interestingly back in 2013 there were only 2 active companies that were registered as a knowledge based company. In 2014 a total of of 135 were active and by the end of 2015, 1610 active knowledge based companies were active in the country and were privileged with this special treatment according to ITmen.
Many diverse industries operate as a knowledge based company out of these dozen hundred knowledge based companies. Sectors of these companies vary from ICT, ISP, Telecommunications to pharmaceuticals, biotech and nanotech. Many startups are also applying to be registered as a knowledge based company as well. Some of the drug and other pharmaceutical exports of these knowledge based companies to only Russia has reached a total of 300 million dollars. As of now a total of 480 IT companies, 386 companies specialized in electronics and 380 in hi-tech are among the registered companies. Major Iranian startups such as Digikala and Cafe Bazaar are also among the registered Knowledge Based companies.
For startups, it’s critical to have these special treatments like tax exemptions as the hard roller coster journey of growing a startups is no peace of cake. And tax exemptions would be something that will not only help the startup in its growth, but would actually be something that has a direct connection to the startup’s survival.
Tough having the knowledge based permits seems like a dream come true, the process of getting this registration is exceptionally time and energy consuming. It sometimes takes up to 2 years to get this registration which is considered as 2 or 3 business life cycles of a startup. Having the process facilitated and eased would most certainly be a big step in providing a better infrastructure and more fertile startup ecosystem in Iran. One of the biggest challenges in Iran in legal and infrastructure challenges is company registrations which smoothing this processes will certainly help in the accelerating of Iran’s startup scene.