TEHRAN, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- The Iranian DNA Union holding company in collaboration with local startup accelerator MAPS opened an innovation center in the capital Tehran to promote applications of cutting-edge technologies in the advertisement sector.
The AAV Innovation Center will help provide startups financial assistance and mentorship, Eghtesad online news website reported on Monday.
According to the report, the DNA Union will invest 17 percent of its annual turnover in startups while MAPS will handle the technological side.
The DNA Union chief Nasser Pashapour Nikoo said that in the past several months, advertising business in Iran has shrunk. "The Iranian ad market has declined by almost 30 percent in the past few months."
The annual advertisement expenditure in Iran amounted to 3 billion U.S. dollars in 2017, according to the report.
"It is true that after the new U.S. sanctions, many foreign firms suspended their work in Iran. Foreigners can opt out, but I will stay put. My assets are here. The way ahead for me is to invest in the future," Pashapour Nikoo was quoted as saying.
Local firms with their limited resources could not compete with their international peers that used to work in Iran prior to the U.S. economic and banking restrictions, he said, adding that, however, "recent developments have provided local firms the opportunity to claim a share of the market."
Besides, Secretary of Tehran Guild Association of Online Businesses Shayan Shalileh said at the opening ceremony of the center that "AAV Innovation Center is the first of its kind offering specialized acceleration services to startups in the ad sector."
Close to 72 startup accelerators and innovation centers are operating in Iran and some accelerators specialize in healthcare and fintech.