Nepali startups showcase their ideas and products to investorsNepal Student Union (NSU) is one of the major student political wings in Nepal and usually known for organising political events. B
Nepal Student Union (NSU) is one of the major student political wings in Nepal and usually known for organising political events. But the Saturday event was different. It was showcasing students’ talents for the first time and helping them find investors for their innovative ideas.
The platform was: NSU Tech Fest 2018, a purely non-political event to promote Nepali students’ talents and skills.
The day-long event brought together would-be engineers from more than 30 colleges in the event.
There were 40 stalls providing information on the use of technology in different sectors such as health, agriculture, food, electricity, and tourism and infrastructure development.
The event was participated by a number of professional engineers from civil, rural development, architecture, electrical, IT and computer science sectors.
“Students have different kinds of creativity but they have difficulty finding a platform to showcase them,” said Melli Shah, coordinator of the event. “This kind of event is aimed at showcasing their talents and helping them find investors willing to finance their innovative ideas.”
One of the participants was Smart Tech, an IT company. The 10-year old start-up company is gradually growing. Started with three people in 2009, the company saw opportunities in the IT sector and started to develop software especially targeted at civil engineering and construction designers.
Apart from developing software, the company is providing training to nearly seven government offices helping to construct better roads, said Ashish Dangal, coordinator of Smart Tech.
“To fulfill the gap between study and profession, the company also provides training to civil engineering students. They learn practical methods with us so that they can handle any problems that arise at work,” he said.
District Level Project Implementation Unit, Department of Roads, Department of Local Infrastructure Development and Agricultural Roads are few of the government bodies that Smart Tech has been supporting with IT and training services.
“Initially, it was difficult to convince them on how traditional working style can be changed particularly among government officials. Now, we are getting good feedback.”Smart Tech now has 16 people in its team.
Another start-up is Ek Yatri. It’s an app targeted to boost tourism. Sunim Acharya, Manish Parajuli and Rabin Raj Gautam, third year students from Kathmandu Engineering College have been jointly working on this app for the last six months.
The app is designed to help tourists to find all the travel information like hotels, restaurants, hospitals and other services, including selecting tour packages, said Acharya, one of the developers.
Acharya said that the company has submitted essential documents to the ministry concerned and is waiting for approval to launch the app soon.
The company aims to launch the app soon so that they can provide services for the proposed Visit Nepal campaign in 2020. “Idea is the key for a start-up and it has to be saleable in the market,” said Acharya.
Another start-up is Gravitational Vortex Turbine Project, a research-based programme which aims at producing electricity at low cost with maximum output and low environment degradation.
The students from Himalayan College of Engineering conducted research in the Upper Khadam Hydroelectric Project in Morang and their research showed that their Gravitational Vortex Project is more efficient.
Most of the Nepali hydropower projects uses high head water turbine. But the project has been experimenting on low head turbine which can produce more electricity at a lower budget, said Roshan Bhatta, a third year, civil engineer student and one of the researchers of the project.
The project is efficient in terms of capital investment, environment friendly and useful for irrigation as well, said Bhatta. “Nepal’s electricity sector is in need of innovative ideas. Proper government and private sector funding is necessary to boost start-ups.”