On March 18th, the much awaited Idea Pitching Program for our “Drones-as-a-Service” Business Incubation Program took place. With the invaluable presence and assistance of the Nepal Engineers’ Association (NEA), who generously provided the event venue, and the Robotics Association of Nepal (RAN), the program hosted more than 100 participants and guests. 19 teams pitched their drone related business ideas to our team of juries, and only 4 teams were selected to move to the next stage of the competition.
The program formally kicked off at 10 in the morning. Along with honorable guests such as the Vice Chancellor of the National Association of Science and Technology and the state Industry minister of Nepal, many important and relevant figures in Nepali technology, business, academics and politics were in attendance. We would like to thank Vice Chancellor of NAST Prof. Dr. Jiba Raj Pokharel (Chief Guest), Hon. State Minister for Industry Kanchan Bade Shrestha (Chief Guest Closing Session), General of Survey Department Krishna Raj BC (Guest), Associate Dean of KU Prof. Ramesh Kumar Maskey, representatives of confederation of Nepalese industries (CNI), NEA Executives, NEA Past Presidents, journalists and participants for their fruitful presence during the program.
The state minister personally congratulated and handed out the awards to the selected finalists, also promising government’s increased and positive participation in drone technology. The Idea Pitching session was inaugurated by Chief Guest Prof. Dr. Jibaraj Pokhrel and Closed by State Minister of Industry Dr. Kanchan Bade Shrestha.
After the individual team’s presentations, they were questioned by the jury on their market plan, the technology used, and the future of their business. The teams and their ideas were evaluated by the jury team on many criteria. One major focus was on commercial and technical feasibility, especially in context of Nepal. Team skill sets and experience were also considered in choosing the final participants.
Our esteemed jury team consisted of leading individuals in Nepali academics, business and engineering:
- Er. Hareram Shrestha, President, NEA
- Er.(Ar.) Susan Vaidya, Treasurer, NEA
- Prof. Dr Ramesh Kumar Maskey, Professor of Civil Engineering and Associate Dean, School of Engineering, Kathmandu University
- Dr Sanjeev Maharjan, Deputy Head, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Kathmandu University
- Mr. Rupesh Krishna Shrestha, Assistant Professor, Entrepreneurship & Marketing, Kathmandu University
- Er. Bikash Gurung, President, RAN. Chairman, Yantra 6.0 Art ,Tech and Science Festival
Honorable state industry minister himself was personally present during the last few idea pitches. In his words, he felt many of the ideas to be innovative especially in context of Nepal, with a potential to bring drastic change. He also expressed regret that Nepal Government wasn’t doing more in this regard.
Although we planned a half-hour for merging the jury decisions and deciding on winners, it took much longer due to the high quality and very competitive teams. The jury teams found it very difficult to select just 4 teams out of such great collections of idea. At the end, the following four teams (alphabetically) were selected to move on to the next phase of our incubation program:
- Airlift – Moving cargo using drones.
- Dronepal – Applying drones in surveying and mapping in Nepal.
- Kalpabriskhya – Managing crowds and events from the air.
- Map Hub – Modernizing mapping and surveying through drones.
Our congratulations to these four teams, as they will now go on to take part in our five week mentoring and incubation program. Under the guidance of experts in engineering, technology and business they’ll work closely with us to build a viable business plan and will be taught the in’s and out’s of what one needs to run a business.