More than 33,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are currently active in Iran of which 1,100 are exporting their products and services to foreign destinations, head of Iran Small Industries and Industrial Parks Organization (ISIPO) announced.
According to Mohsen Salehinia, currently 43,650 SMEs are based in over 800 industrial parks across the country, of which nearly 78 percent or 33,800 are active.
Salehinia made the remarks in a press conference held on the occasion of National SMEs Day at Iran’s Industry, Mining and Trade Ministry on Saturday.
What follows is a summary of the official’s remarks in this event.
Plans for reviving idle SMEs
Underlining the importance of SMEs in the country’s economy, the official mentioned some of his organization’s plans for supporting such enterprises, noting that the industry ministry is also fully supporting ISIPO’s efforts in this regards.
“Although the SMEs have the potential to provide nearly 900,000 job opportunities across the country, but currently 22 percent of the SMEs are idle and there are only 710,000 people working in active units,” Salehinia said.
One of the major programs that ISIPO is following regarding the SMEs is reviving idle units and helping them to get back into business.
“ISIPO plans to help revive 1300 idle SMEs by the end of the current year [Iranian calendar year which ends on March 19, 2020],” Salehinia said.
Activities and exports
Elsewhere in his remarks the ISIPO head mentioned the Iranian SMEs major areas of activities, saying “Iranian SMEs are currently operating in a variety of areas including industry, petrochemicals, food sector, energy and etc.”
According to the data provided by the official, nearly 17 percent of the country’s SMEs are active in the food industry, while 22 percent are working in petrochemicals sector, 27 percent in steel and metal products, 12 percent in non-metal minerals, five percent in textile, six percent in services, six percent in cellulose products and etc.
The official noted that SMEs exported about $4 billion worth of commodities in the past Iranian calendar year (ended on March 20, 2019).
He further said that for the time being, 210 foreign investors are collaborating with Iranian SMEs by which $2 billion worth of investment has been attracted.
“Over 68 export consortiums have also been formed by domestic SMEs in order to export similar products,” he added.
ISIPO plans for supporting SMEs
Further in his remarks, Salehinia mentioned some of his organization’s plans and programs for supporting the country’s small and medium-sized enterprises including financial support through government funds and the budget allocated for supporting domestic production and providing guarantee for SMEs which require bank facilities through the country’s Small Industries Investment Guarantee Fund.
“The guarantee fund’s current capital stands at 1.1 trillion rials (about $26 million) which is planned to be doubled in near future,” he said.
Holding training courses, supporting SMEs participation in international exhibitions, supporting SMEs research and study projects, and supporting knowledge-based SMEs were some other programs which ISIPO is following to help SMEs expand their activities, according to the official.
Keeping up with the world
One other major issue which was stressed by the deputy industry minister, was the significance of staying in touch with the world knowledge and keeping the country’s SMEs up to date.
In this regard the official mentioned technological collaboration with South Korea, China, Germany and some other countries’ knowledge-based institutions and organizations with the aim of transferring knowledge into the country and using the two sides’ experiences and expertise to improve the SMEs performance.
“Despite the U.S. sanctions, our technological collaborations with many of the world’s great knowledge centers are intact and we are even trying to sign agreements with new research partners,” Salehinia stated.
“We are currently collaborating with the German Corporation for International Cooperation (known as GIZ) and a delegation is slated to visit the European country in [Iranian calendar month of] Shahrivar (August 23-September 22),” he added.