Category Archives: Industry & economy

Iran’s Markazi Province: Mahallat, the capital of flowers

Located in Markazi Province, almost 300km south west of Tehran, Mahallat was in ancient times an important location for Zoroastrianism. There are remains of Hellenistic architecture from Alexander the Great’s time as well as fire temple ruins dated from the Zoroastrianism era.

Today, the city is famous for its large flower gardens and hold a flower festival every September; some even call Mahallat ‘Holland of Iran’. Professional floriculture in the city dates back to the late 1920’s: A simple worker named Yahyakhan learned about growing flowers from his Dutch foreman in Tehran and took the knowledge with him to his birthplace, Mahallat.

The art of growing flowers was promoted and expanded by Yahyakhan and was later pursued by others. Eight years ago florists of Mahallat won a gold medal for their fresh gladiolus at an international exhibition held in Osaka, Japan.

Photos of Mahallat’s Daisies Festival, with more than 600 varieties of flowers, in November 2015

The city is one of the major producers and exporters of flowers in Iran. Out of 35,500 inhabitants, 40 percent are either growers or sellers of flowers or engaged in jobs that are indirectly associated with the flower industry. The region is also the top Chrysanthemums producer in the country, Mahallat’s florists plant 28 million Chrysanthemums annually and from 172 million flowers produced anually the city exports 6 million.

Mahallat also has the country’s largest cactus farm. Cactuses of diverse shapes and colors are found here. The city is an oasis and has a cold climate with strong winds during spring and summer.

Sources: Mehr News Agency, Wikipedia | Mahallat, IRIB, Iran Daily

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Bloomberg and IBT: Business women in Iran – Ready for take off!

Excerpts of “Women in Iran Are Ready to Show They Mean Business” from Bloomberg.com:

Women in Iran are ready to make career gains in a way few of their peers can in the Gulf Arab world.

Thirteen years after Mona Hajialiasghar started out as an asset manager in Tehran, she’s chief operating officer of Kardan Investment Bank, which oversees about $300 million invested in Iran. As her country edges toward an historic agreement that promises to plug it back into the global economy, she already sees more women joining her.

“The presence of women in Iran in the workplace and in higher education is much more serious now compared to when I first started,” said Hajialiasghar, 35, who has a master’s degree in business management. “With younger women entering the market, firstly their numbers are much higher, but also their confidence is much higher.” […]

Young couples enjoy a meal in a western style restaurant in Tehran. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Young couples enjoy a meal in a western style restaurant in Tehran. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Kardan’s chief executive officer, Majid Zamani, said that across Iran’s nine investment banks, the presence of women is high compared with other industries and in some cases it even outnumbers men like himself. “I’d say this is definitely the case in the capital markets in Iran,” Zamani said. “We’re looking for dedicated, committed people and contrary to what’s sometimes the public perception, women tend to be the strongest candidates in this regard.” […]

While women have been legally obliged to cover their hair and adapt Islamic rules of modesty in clothing since the revolution in 1979, they have never faced limitations when it comes to driving, voting and access to education. They also occupy some top political jobs – three of President Hassan Rouhani’s vice presidents are women.

Bloomberg - 2015.10.01 - Women in Iran Are Ready to Show They Mean Business 2

Employees work at the Tehran Stock Exchange in Tehran.
Photo by: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

The nuclear deal “means economic empowerment for women in Iran,” said Suzanne DiMaggio, director of the Iran Initiative at New America Foundation in New York, a not-for-profit research organization. “Already today there are more women than men studying at Iranian universities, and they also work for a living and can own businesses and vote, so once sanctions are lifted and Iran reintegrates into the global economy, that should help women.”

Government figures show 72 percent of working women in Iran are employed by private enterprises. That’s the area of the economy that’s set to burgeon after sanctions stifled business, according to Shahindokht Molaverdi, one of the country’s three female vice presidents.

While Iranian law protects equal pay in government jobs and there’s maternity leave of as long as 12 months in some departments, women in Iran face much of the same problems as they do in the western world. There are disproportionately fewer of them in the executive suite after making up more than half of university places. They also suffer from a higher rate of unemployment, which at 19 percent is more than twice the figure for men, according to Iran’s National Statistics Organization. […]

Fatemeh Moghimi started her trucking business in Tehran 26 years ago after finishing a degree at City University in London. She’s the first woman to be elected to the board of directors of the Tehran Chamber of Commerce and Industry and she employs several women as drivers.

“I was worried, because I wanted to start my business,” Moghimi, 57, said in an interview at her office at the Tehran Chamber of Commerce and Industry, where she spends her Saturday mornings mentoring dozens of mostly female entrepreneurs. “It took two years. I came across a lot of cultural barriers, with the mindset of people, rather than legal barriers.”

Excerpts of “Trendy Tehran – Meet the female entrepreneurs breaking boundaries in Iran” from the International Business Times:

Mahsa Rezazadeh started her café in Tehran seven years ago and now brings in a better wage than her husband, a lawyer. She attributes her success amid a sanctions-shattered Iranian economy to hard work and the fact that however bad things get in Iran, Iranians cannot resist the smell of a home-cooked meal and freshly brewed coffee. “People may cut other expenses but they don’t compromise their stomach,” Rezazadeh, a mother of two, tells IBTimes UK from her café Little House in central Tehran. […]

Like many Iranian entrepreneurs, Rezazadeh is hoping that the lifting of sanctions following the nuclear deal between Iran and the US will trickle down, so that those who frequent her café will have more money to spend on food and coffee. “If sanctions are lifted and my customers can pay more money and I will able to do more,” she said. […]

International Business Times - 2015.10.05 - Trendy Tehran Meet the female entrepreneurs breaking boundaries in Iran

An Iranian family look at bubbles as they shop at the main bazaar in Tehran. Photo credit: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty

Mona Mahpeyma, 25, is a graphic design graduate and aspiring fashion designer, who owns her own outlet in Tehran. […] “At first some thought that I as a woman could not make it but […] restrictions could not stop me. In business the restrictions for women are less than other areas like politics and sports,” she said. “The main restriction in doing business is financial, which is equal for men and women.”

The sanctions had been particularly problematic for Mahpeyma as they made the raw materials she needs far more expensive. She is hoping that Iran’s textile industry can now grow meaning her costs will go down. “At the time of the international sanctions imposed on us, the market for clothing and fashion was not money making. Now, if I decide to expand my business internationally without any sanctions I will have the opportunity to present myself as an Iranian designer internationally. Now I hope for a better change for women like me who have their own startups.”

Other interesting posts on Iranian women: https://theotheriran.com/tag/women/

Iran’s tech sector displayed its potential in Berlin

Iranian entrepreneurs and business owners gathered in Berlin for a three-day start-up conference to explore opportunities in Iran’s high-tech sector.

The iBRIDGE Berlin conference was opened by American start-up guru David McClure with a keynote speech to more than 80 business owners coming from Iran, Europe and the US.

The conference attracted over 2,000 attendees and online viewers, aimed at studying the role that a high-tech entrepreneurial ecosystem can play in Iran’s economic development and diversification.

The event featured keynote speeches, panel discussions, dozens of workshops and breakout sessions, as well as touring local start-ups in Berlin, widely regarded as the hub of newly-established businesses in Europe.

According to organizers, the conference was to focus on start-up mentorship, investment guidance and exchange of ideas like branding and marketing of products and services. Panel groups also dwelled on branding design, social innovation, social entrepreneurship in Iran, venture capitalism and big data.

iBRIDGE Berlin is a sequel to iBRIDGE Berkeley, the innovative conference held at the University of California, Berkeley on September 6, 2014.

About iBridges
The iBRIDGES initiative is an open, inclusive and collaborative community, free from any political or ideological affiliations, that works towards bringing to life a diversity of initiatives, platforms and spaces that all tangibly serve to contribute to the development of the high-tech entrepreneurial sector in Iran.  The initiative was started in 2014 as a collective effort of Iranians interested in and involved with high technology entrepreneurship in the US.

Related articles:
The other Iran | Tag | Startup,
The Guardian | From Digikala to Hamijoo: the Iranian startup revolution, phase two,
Financial Times | Iran’s tech sector to display potential in Berlin (PDF),
Reuters | Iranian entrepreneurs thirst for foreign funding, expertise

Sources: Press TV | Economy, iBridges.org

Airplane Overhaul Facility in Mashhad, Eastern Iran

Mashhad International Airport is the country’s second busiest airport only to Tehran Mehrabad Airport.

The airport also houses an overhaul facility for light and heavy aircraft where the specialists are engaged in rebuilding and modernizing the air transportation system of the country.

Source: Payvand News of Iran

Iran Khodro, the largest vehicle manufacturer in the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_Khodro

Iran Khodro Company (in Persian: ایران خودرو‎), also known as IKCO, is the leading Iranian vehicle manufacturer, with headquarters in Tehran.[5] The company’s original name was Iran National. IKCO was founded in 1962 and it produced 688,000 passenger cars in 2009.[6] IKCO manufactures vehicles, including Samand, Peugeot and Renault cars, and trucks, minibuses and buses…The company has become the largest vehicle manufacturer in the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa.”

Also:
http://www.aljazeera.com/video/middleeast/2013/12/iran-auto-industry-sanctions-20131226134241245158.html

“Country wants to be one of top 10 automakers in the world by producing up to 3 million cars a year.”

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