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Microsoft Imagine Cup 2024 IDEATHON Kathmandu successfully held!

The Microsoft Imagine Cup 2024 IDEATHON Kathmandu, an event eagerly anticipated by tech enthusiasts and aspiring innovators, successfully took place on December 30 at The British College, Kathmandu. The Microsoft Imagine Cup, the prestigious annual competition sponsored by Microsoft Corp., is renowned globally and often referred to as the Olympics of Technology, as it unites student developers from around the world, challenging them to develop solutions that address some of the most critical issues facing our planet.

Participants of Microsoft Imagine Cup Ideathon 2024 Kathmandu

Fig: Participants of Microsoft Imagine Cup Ideathon 2024 Kathmandu

The primary objective of this year’s Ideathon was to thoroughly acquaint tech students with all aspects of the Imagine Cup ensuring their successful participation in the competition. The event served as a platform for previous winners and participants of the Imagine Cup from Nepal, offering them an opportunity to share their experiences and inspire the new batch of participants. Additionally, speakers from the Microsoft community were invited to provide insights into the latest tools and technologies that could aid the students in their projects. A diverse group of expert mentors from the broader Microsoft community, various companies, and tech communities were present to offer guidance and support to the participants. The Ideathon was not just about sharing knowledge; it was also about mentally preparing the participants for the challenges of the competition.

The event co-organized by Nepal Cloud Professionals – an official chapter of Microsoft Azure communities in Nepal saw an overwhelming number of attendees. The enthusiasm and eagerness of the participants was visible from the moment the registration process began. The event officially commenced at 2 pm NPT, marking the start of an inspiring and enlightening journey for the attendees.

Fig: Participants confirming registration for the event

The event opened with a warm and welcoming address by the hosts Ms.Nadika Poudel and Mr. Nirajan Acharya, both Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors.

                    Fig: Host for the sessions, Mr. Nirajan Acharya (left), Ms. Nadika Paudel (right)

The opening keynote was delivered by Mr. Md Yousup Faruqu, Managing Director of Microsoft for Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal. His speech was not only welcoming but also motivational, encouraging participants to fully engage with and take advantage of the unique opportunity presented by the Ideathon.

Fig: Mr. Md Yousup Faruqu giving the opening remarks

The first speaker, Mr. Prashant Dhewaju, a MW Security Specialist, introduced the Imagine Cup to the attendees, outlining its purpose, history, and the significant impact it has had over the years. He emphasized how the competition had evolved and the substantial changes it has brought about in the lives of many students.

Fig: Mr. Prashant Dhewaju’s session for Introducing Microsoft Imagine Cup 2024

Following him, Mr. Pradeep Kandel, the Founder of Nepal Cloud Professionals and Microsoft Azure MVP, took the stage to discuss how Microsoft Azure could be leveraged in Imagine Cup projects. His session provided valuable insights into Azure’s features and how students could access and utilize these resources in their work with Azure for Students and Azure Education Hub.

Fig: Mr. Pradeep Kandel briefing participants about Microsoft Azure and it’s benefit

Ms. Priyanka Shah from Avanade AI-IOT Leadership, also a Microsoft MVP, focused on the application of Artificial Intelligence in tech solutions. Her talk revolved around Generative AI, its potential applications in various domains like code generation, image creation, text processing, speech synthesis, video production, and 3D modeling. She also shared critical insights on protecting data in cloud services and discussed the evolution, benefits, and challenges associated with different Large Language Models (LLMs).

Fig: Ms. Priyanka Shah sharing insights on leveraging Large Language Models and GenAI

Following that, Ms. Shraddha Katuwal, Co-founder of BiheNepal, delivered an inspiring talk on transforming an idea into a successful company. Her session was a blend of personal experience and practical advice and encouraged participants to step out of their comfort zones and envision impactful innovations. She shared her journey, covering everything from identifying problems, knowing when to seek funding, recognizing when an approach isn’t working, and the importance of having a strong, cohesive team.

Fig: Ms. Shradda giving guidance on building a successful company out of an idea

A unique and much-anticipated part of the event was the Imagine Cup Experience Sharing session, where previous winners shared their journeys. Ms. Nadika Poudel from Team PNP, World Finalist at Imagine Cup 2023, spoke about her project, a smart glass that helps blind people see the world around them and how it works like a personal assistant for their eyes, making daily life safer and more independent.

Fig: Ms. Nadika Poudel (right) from Team PNP and Mr. Ayush Banjada (left) from Team ARISE sharing the experience 

After that, Mr. Bipin Bhandari from Team Hive, World Finalist at Imagine Cup 2023, introduced their innovative project ‘Sanchar,’ a smart glass with AI capabilities designed to empower the hearing impaired. The project exemplifies how technology can bridge communication gaps between sign language users and verbal speakers.

Following him, Mr. Ayush Banjade from the project ARISE, a Microsoft Imagine Cup Junior 2022 Global Winner, presented their AI-driven application designed to enhance accessibility in chemistry labs for individuals with disabilities.

Following the presentations, a group Q/A session was held, featuring Ms. Asmita Dhakal from Team Hive along with other speakers. This interactive session provided attendees with valuable insights into team building and offered a dose of inspiration.

Fig: Q/A session with the past Microsoft Imagine Cup World Finalists and Junior Microsoft Imagine Cup Winner

The Ideathon session, an integral part of the event, was skillfully moderated by Mr. Bibek Koirala, Co-founder at Evolv. Participants were grouped into teams, each assigned mentors with expertise in various domains. This arrangement facilitated a collaborative environment where participants could refine their ideas with guidance from experienced professionals. The mentors for this session included a diverse group of experts: Mr. Veshraj Ghimire, Mr. Prazol Bista, Mr. Niyoj Oli, Mr. Bibek Pant, Mr. Sijan Neupane, Mr. Om Prakash Sharma, Mr. Adarsh Maharjan, Mr. Aaradhya Gopal Nepal, Mr. Sabin KC, Mr. Ahimsha Mudbari, Ms. Rojina Dangi, Mr. Pasang Tamang, and Mr.Sandeep Kumar Jha.

Fig: Mr. Bibek Koirala briefing participants on building a great product (right), Mentors of Microsoft Imagine Cup 2024 Ideathon Kathmandu (left)

The climax of the event was the team pitches, where participants presented their creative ideas. This session not only showcased the imagination and potential impact of the ideas but also demonstrated the effectiveness of the collaborative and mentoring processes of the Ideathon. The creativity and innovation displayed by the teams were met with enthusiastic applause and appreciation from the audience.

Fig: Teams brainstorming creative ideas during the ideathon

 Fig: Ideathon teams pitching their ideas

For those unable to attend in person, the event was made accessible through live streaming on the Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors Facebook Page. This allowed a broader audience to participate virtually and benefit from the sessions.

Fig: A group picture of Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors, Nepal Cloud Professionals, and organizers of Microsoft Imagine Cup Ideathon 2024 Kathmandu

In conclusion, the event organizers expressed their gratitude to the CSIT Association of Nepal for their collaborative efforts and The British College for providing the venue. The successful organization of the Ideathon was a testament to the cooperative spirit and dedication of the Microsoft tech communities in Nepal, including Nepal Cloud Professionals, Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors, and the Microsoft MVP community. Their collective efforts not only made the event a success but also ensured that the participants left with valuable knowledge, inspiration, and a renewed enthusiasm for technological innovation.

About the author
Mr. Bibek Pant is a Technical Content Writer at Programiz and a Gold Microsoft Learn Student Ambassador. He has three years of experience in building, mentoring, and leading local, regional, and national technical communities in various capacities. Bibek loves interacting with new people and is always excited to climb the Himalayas.

Connect with Bibek at LinkedIn or