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Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, on Friday launched the MIT Global Startup Labs (GSL) in Nepal this summer with Kathmandu University and Ncell. MIT GSL empowers technology entrepreneurs and helps cultivate the startup ecosystem in emerging economies.
The MIT has been conducting the program for the last 18 years in 25 countries promoting economic development by cultivating young technology entrepreneurs, including India and Sri Lanka in South Asia. This inaugural program has been made possible by Ncell that works towards the technological advancement of the country by nurturing young entrepreneurs.
Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Nepal Swarna Perera; Cultural Affairs Officer of US Embassy to Nepal Grace Caroll; Senior Director of Nepal Telecommunications Authority Ananda Raj Khanal; Registrar of KU Prof. Dr Bhola Thapa, MIT Faculty Co-Director for GSL Prof Saman Amarasinghe, and Managing Director of Ncell Suren J. Amarasekera jointly inaugurated the MIT GSL in Nepal amid a function in the capital on Friday.
This pioneering program has been initiated by Ncell in collaboration with MIT and Kathmandu University (KU) as a part of Ncell’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The course on mobile technology and entrepreneurship, based on MIT’s unique approach, will engage 35 selected KU students and young alumni. The intensive boot camp is led by 4 MIT instructors and is unique in that it is a student to student lab. Commencing June 15 and concluding on August 02, 2018 with a Demo Day that will highlight their team project prototypes. The goal is to both educate students to entrepreneurship and to help foster startups.
“We are delighted to partner with MIT and KU to bring the MIT GSL program to Nepal. This is in line with our vision to help nurture ‘technopreneurship’ spirit among young talent through innovation,” said Suren J. Amarasekera, Managing Director of Ncell Private Limited. “This collaboration reflects Ncell’s strong commitment towards facilitating further development of an ecosystem with ‘technopreneurs’ playing a pivotal role for the socio-economic advancement of Nepal.”
MIT GSL – Nepal will be an intensive 7-week innovation boot camp, where the students will develop startup projects – from ideation stage to execution of technology startups.
Globally, MIT GSL partners with universities and companies in emerging regions and organizes advanced courses taught by MIT instructors. The MIT GSL program focuses on mobile and internet technologies and is structured so that students are exposed to the commercial possibilities of technologies. Components of the course include detailed technical curriculum, market research, team development, and business model execution, learning to pitch ideas, guest lectures, and networking events, all to help students realize the potential of their ideas. All of this culminates on Demo Day, sponsored by Ncell, with a student team delivering pitches and prototypes as part of this funded business competition.
“MIT Global Startup Labs has trained nearly 3000 budding entrepreneurs in 24 countries to become leaders in the new information economy in their home countries as well as internationally,” says Professor Saman Amarasinghe, the Associate Department Head for the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) and faculty co-director for GSL. “With Ncell’s generous support, I am excited that MIT is able to bring the GSL program to the Kathmandu University for the first time. We hope some of the participants will be able to use this experience to revolutionize the Nepali digital ecosystem and even make a global impact.”
“Kathmandu University has put forward six key initiative that would act as key attributes of education delivery in Nepal that are quality, innovation, equity, global engagement, identity, and impact. We are very much excited to partner with Ncell to bring MIT GSL to Nepal as it embraces all these initiatives together. This endeavor will inspire, enable and grow digital business ideas in the country by unleashing the innovative potential of students and empowering them to realize these ideas through training and mentorship by MIT team.” said Prof. Dr Ram Kantha Makaju Shrestha, Vice Chancellor of Kathmandu University.
He further adds, “The students would get utmost exposure to go back to their own community to identify their needs and the potential that exists in their own community and come up with innovative ideas that would be globally validated and propagated, that way the core theme of bringing the Campus-to-Community would be achieved through this program”
For the inaugural year, the program targets students and alumni of KU who aspire to make a change through innovative digital business ideas. The program will be implemented in two phases, wherein 35 selected students will first undergo intensive training to accelerate and refine their digital ideas, and in the second phase, team up to turn their ideas into viable products and businesses. An ecosystem of resources, mentorship, inspiration, and opportunities brought together by MIT, KU, and Ncell will facilitate them through these processes.