Kathmandu, December 17, 2017: Someone very rightly said, “Passion and Teamwork can turn a bunch of ordinary folks into an unbeatable winning team,” and this passion and team coordination was clearly visible in the Team So.Po.Co that gallantly grabbed the winning position in the university edition of Hult Prize at Kathmandu University.
Team So.Po.Co which aims to impact millions of lives by harnessing renewable solar energy through an integrated system of digital signage along with solar panels will now take their idea forward representing Kathmandu University in the regional finals.
It is always a great opportunity to learn from experiences and insights of others and thus we interviewed the talented team members Samip Dhungel, Hannah Gurung and Rajesh Paneru of Team So.Po.Co. We have tried to unfold the story of their journey towards the most coveted trophy.
Q. What was your first feeling after your name was announced as the winner?
It is never a bad feeling to have your name announced as a winner. Having won the title, we got the evidence that numerous people believed in our idea which was quite reassuring to us.
Similarly, our happiness knew no bounds hearing the audience hooting and cheering for us so as we grabbed the trophy. This showed that our idea had been able to enamor a huge number of audiences and that feeling was inexplicably precious.
Q. Winning at the university level has increased your responsibility since you are now going to represent the university in front of a larger audience. How prepared are you for this increased responsibility?
We plan to use the timeframe we have to find potential partners who would increase the clarity of our idea. We don’t have any excuses now as we have plenty of time and resources to prepare for the regional finals.
Q. What was the greatest strength of your team?
The greatest strength of our team was that we were our own critics. If anyone of the members among us had a question or a doubt they would put it forward and the other members would clear it. We made sure that the idea we presented was very clear.
Q. What was the biggest challenge you faced while coming up with this idea?
We as a team were pretty sure that we wanted to harness the use of solar energy. The biggest challenge was to add value proposition to the use of solar energy.
Q. Who were your mentors?
Until now, we were our own mentors. The mentorship that was provided to us by the organizers of Hult Prize at KU on 2nd of December definitely helped us. As for our personal mentorship, the support we got from each other and the environment we are in as students of KUSOM definitely helped us polish ourselves.
Q. What made you choose each other?
We had always been together as friends and during our leisure time we often used to brainstorm about various ideas. We share a cheerful bond among each other as a result of which we are well aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
Moreover, all of us come from different backgrounds as a result of which we knew if we came together as a team we would have a diversified base of knowledge making our journey easier and exciting.
Q. In what ways do you think your alma mater especially KUSOM helped you throughout your journey?
I believe our alma maters helped us indirectly grooming us to showcase ourselves in the best way possible.
Similarly, KUSOM organizes various programs. For instance, we had volunteered as Kusomites in Slush facilitator program. Likewise, we had organized Startup Weekend in KUSOM. The exposure to these programs made us aware of the making and breaking factors and we took that into consideration while preparing for our pitch.
Q. Do you see each other as co-founders for your future entrepreneurial ventures?
We actually joke around saying how we see each other grooming to become experts in the near future. Yes, we see each other as co-founders but not in an official way yet.
If we are to continue with this idea and take it further I believe we have gained a lot of insights and experiences already.
Q. What are your opinions on the event?
The strongest fact about the event was the reputed judge panel it had. We were presenting our idea in front of people we had been looking up to all our lives. Since our idea was chosen by such reputed panelists, it increased the validation of it.
What if somebody else takes away your idea?
This is something we are least worried about because Hult Prize is not only about making money but it is also about creating social impacts. If somebody else feels that they can work on the idea creating a huge social impact, we would be happy to see them doing so.
Presented by: Mahima Poddar