ICT For Agriculture, an android based mobile application, grabbed the first prize of Ncell App Camp 2014, securing the highest score in overall markings, leaving behind other 23 finalists, as the grand finale of the six month long competition concluded today in Hotel Soaltee.
Similarly, Opinio (SentiNep), Riti-Riwaj and Lipi (The Script) won the categorical first places under the themes agriculture, corporate solutions, education and tourism, respectively.
ICT For Agriculture, is an android based mobile application that aims to connect farmers, traders, experts and agriculture extension agencies at a single platform to help with farm management and simplify market chain value while also ensuring food security in Nepal. The app helps farmers pre-harvest and post harvest of crops by providing information about diseases related to their crops. It also provides weather forecast linking farmers to the end consumers in the market. Avinash Jha of ICT for Agriculture, explained that it was really hard for them, being IT graduates, to work on agriculture theme. “Most of their friends had suggested us not to go for it. But since this addresses a common problem that most Nepalese were facing, we decided to continue.” The team already has 900 users of the app.
Thematic winner Opinio, under corporate solutions category, developed by a team called SentiNep, analyzes the sentiments and opinions of people and categorizes them into positive, negative and neutral comments. It gathers sentiment related to a product/service/business from around the web (social media, blogs and news portals).
Chandan Gupta, team leader of SentiNep, said that the team will use the prize money in office set up and marketing their product. “Since we all are students, this cash prize makes it more convenient to take our business further.” The team has expected to publish their app online within next three months.
Likewise, Riti-Riwaj, the thematic winner in education category, is a platform to store Nepali culture, history and traditions, and thus preserve the traditions by educating people the importance of it in such level. Manish Shrestha, team leader of RitiRiwaj said that their team is preparing to make their app available in the market within a month and formally go in the market through a registered company within a year. “Waning knowledge in the young generation about their own culture made us realize the need of coming with this app.”
Lipi (The Script), the thematic winner in tourism category, is an application that tries to help tourist decipher Devnagari Signboards or text through simply taking a picture which the apps turns into text in a language of the users’ choice. Rupak Raj Ghimire, business developer for the team said, “Now we will work on making our app more matured. Ghimire said that the team faced more challenges in the technical aspects specially due to larger file sizes of the images that the app needs to read.
The 24 finalists of the camp pitched their refined app ideas, including business models, as a part of their final presentation for the competition. During the program, each team was provided 10 minutes, including two minutes for answering the jury’s questions and additional three minutes to demonstrate their apps.
A panel of eight independent judges, including Kunda Dixit, Narottam Aryal, Purna Bahadur Chhetri, Saurabh Jyoti, Suman Pandey, Tomi Ahonen and Tomas Martunas, assessed the teams based on five preset ground rules which incorporated importance of the problem the application would solve, their business model, the completeness of the product, global scalability of their product and the team’s presentation.
These finalists had been selected from among competing 150 teams which were filtered from a pool of 457 applicants. The selected teams had received several trainings, mentoring and had participated in different seminars to build up their knowledge on business modeling, marketing as well as the technical aspect of app development.
“Though the program has successfully concluded today, it does not end here. We are still thinking of some ways to encourage all the hardworking and creative teams to move ahead with their startups by providing proper guidance through some kind of new programs in the future,” said Sanju Koirala, corporate communication director at Ncell. “This is a beginning of yet another journey.”
“I feel extremely excited and extremely proud of being a tiny part of the gateway to a global approach that this beautiful country is not only about the Everest, trekking or Yeti. This country is about technology and creativity,” said ErimTaylanlar, CEO of Ncell. “I just want to remind few things. The Ncell App market is ready to market these products into the global market.”
Tomi Ahonen, one of the jury members in the grand finale said, “Nepal is generating world class mobile services that serve needs of education, agriculture, tourism and business to business needs.”Ahonen suggested all the 24 teams to enter several international app competitions.
The winners of each category received cash prize of Rs 250,000 and the overall winner received additional Rs 500,000 and won a chance to represent Nepal in the International Application Conference in 2015.