Tech Mela, an annual technology event organised by the Microsoft Innovation Centre (MIC) Nepal, made a return this year on 28 and 29 May! Hosted at the Staff Administrative College in Jawalakhel, Kathmandu, Nepal, the two-day convention attracted close to 1,900 students, IT professionals, start-ups and educators.
Kicking off the festivities was a roundtable discussion featuring a panel of IT and education experts, including Amrit Man Tuladhar, CEO of Muncha.com; Lekhnath Sharma, Director of Open and Distance Education Center, Tribhuvan University; Muni Shakya, the programmer responsible for designing the first computer systems in Nepali; Dikshya Rana, a nonprofit professional, and Dilli Sharma, the Vice-President of CSIT College Organization, Nepal, an association of IT colleges. Allen Bailochan Tuladhar, Regional Director for Microsoft and Country Director for MIC Nepal, moderated the discussion.
Other than the roundtable, attendees were also treated to a variety of activities. The gaming zone, for instance, was a huge hit among the visitors, who were kept occupied by the games on the Kinect motion controller through the Xbox console. An hourly quiz, where attendees could win prizes if they answered IT-related questions correctly, kept the crowd in high spirits. There also was an Innovative Solution Showcase that displayed six apps developed by young Nepalis. The Tech-Talk sessions, which featured technical presentations on products as such Azure and Windows Server platform, were well-attended.
Here are some key highlights of the annual fair:
The route to becoming an entrepreneur is a difficult one, and it always helps to have some guidance along the way. With that in mind, MIC Nepal organised an entrepreneurship programme, where the attendees—mainly made up of students—were given a quick introduction to the ins and outs of the entrepreneurial system in Nepal. They were also brought up to speed on the programmes provided by MIC Nepal that could help them become successful entrepreneurs in the country.
MIC Nepal also conducted a two-hour workshop that focused on how technology start-ups resolve their concerns, from identifying their problems to developing innovative and creative solutions based on feedback. One of the guest speakers was Manohar Adhikari, CEO of Foodmandu.com, who shared his journey on how he came to build the first e-commerce food delivery service in Nepal.
Idea Pitching Competition
Ideas can only become useful when they can be developed into solutions, and to help future innovators embark on this step, MIC Nepal held an idea pitching competition with “Nepal Nirman”, or “Building Nepal”, as its theme. This competition challenged participants to pitch an idea that could aid Nepal’s development in three minutes. Among the 20 participants, Dhiran Karki, an engineering student from Acme Engineering College, stood out with his proposal: a device that cleans solar panels automatically.
Dhiran Karki’s idea of a solar panel cleaning device bagged him the first place position in the idea pitching competition.
“My pitch came about as a result of the street lights installed along the roads. They are not very efficient, as the solar panels that powers the lights are often covered with dust. Since technicians have recommended that these panels should be cleaned up at least once a month, I thought that having an automatic device that can allow users to set the timer for cleaning would be a good idea,” explains Dhiran.
Showcasing the Latest Technology
The Community Chautari was one of the more popular sessions in Tech Mela, in which a myriad of technology-related topics were discussed. For instance, the attendees learned about the harmful effects from the poor disposal of e-waste, such as discarded computers, televisions and other electronic products. An array of technology and computer science concepts, such as Arduino, computer animation, machine learning, dark net and dependency injection were also brought up during the session.
“We received a lot of positive feedback on Tech Mela, which is great news for us at MIC Nepal. Through the event, we wanted to inspire and provide both start-ups and youth with the guidance they need to develop their next big ideas as entrepreneurs,” said Tuladhar.
If you have attended Tech Mela this year, do share with us your experience. We would love to hear from you!