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Ncell and GSMA (GSM Association) together organized an ‘MNO Start-up Collaboration Workshop’ in order to reinforce collaborations between mobile operators and start-up companies in Nepal.
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting more than 750 operators with almost 400 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organizations in adjacent industry sectors.
‘The MNO Start-up Collaboration Workshop’ was organized to share insights on how start-up companies can work together with mobile operators. More than 50 representatives from over 30 start-ups took part and got to learn about innovation, trends, and examples on how start-ups have collaborated with telecom companies, creating value for telcos, start-ups and customers across Africa and Asia pacific.
“In the changing landscape of the tech industry, telecom companies need to be a major enabler for innovation and facilitate partnerships for a sustainable business environment. There are many opportunities for telecom companies and Ncell is very optimistic about partnering with start-ups,” said Irwin M. Eusoff, Chief Strategy Officer of Ncell.
During the workshop, Martin Karanja, Market Engagement Director for the GSMA’s Ecosystem Accelerator program, a keynote speaker, took the participating local start-ups through a mobile operator – start-up collaboration and how this can be applied through partnerships with local mobile operators in Nepal.
He also highlighted 10 major initiatives that the GSMA Mobile for Development teams will be focusing on; ClimateTech, AssistiveTech, Mobile for Development Utilities, Mobile for Humanitarian Innovation, Connected Society, Connected Women, Digital Identity, Ecosystem Accelerator, and AgriTech. The aim of these programs is to reduce inequalities in the world through mobile technology. Martin reiterated the importance of entrenching the role of businesses in creating socio-economic impact whilst meeting the business objectives.
Emerging start-up companies like Karkhana, ICT for Agri Tech, eSewa, SochWare, Sarathi, Foodmario, Avyas, Khalti, Upaya, and industry Hamrobazaar, Letz Go and Supply Box, among others, participated in the workshop.
Underlining the need for collaboration between telecom operators and start-up companies, Ravi Singhal, co-founder of Sarathi, a ride-sharing platform, said that since his start-up is fully based on a mobile platform, the workshop has opened new doors for plausible collaborations with Ncell. “We are looking into how we can go hand-in-hand with telecom operators creating value for both the parties, cab drivers and the users. We are happy that this kind of interaction is happening to energize start-ups like us,” he said.
Another participant, Eeda Riyal, CEO and co-founder of Sochware said, “Workshops like these help to bridge the gap between private sectors and start-ups like us by promoting working together.” SochWare is a tech company that focuses on AI and IoT products and is a winner of the Microsoft Imagine Cup Artificial Intelligence Award 2018.
“As we are in an unsaturated market, there is a lot we need to do to move forward and digitize the payment system,” said Salome Bhatt, Resource Development Officer of Khalti, a digital wallet for an instant, secure and hassle-free online payments in Nepal. Recently Khalti bagged the ICT Award for digitalizing financial activities in Nepal.
During the workshop, the participating start-up companies got the opportunities to pitch their value proposition to the GSMA and Ncell. The GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator team will work with the participating start-up companies to help them craft and articulate a stronger value proposition to operators in the longer run. The GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator program is seeking to bolster collaborations between mobile operators and start-ups across Africa and the Asia Pacific.