Microsoft Innovation Center (MIC) Nepal organised Tech Mela 2013 on 22-23 March, an event aimed at highlighting the use of information technology (IT) for skills development and fostering innovative capabilities in the country.

More than 3,200 students and IT professionals attended the technology event held at the Nepal Administrative Staff College in Lalitpur District. Dr Ram Kantha Makaju Shrestha, Vice Chancellor of Kathmandu University, officially inaugurated Tech Mela 2013, which comprised conference sessions and workshops focusing on career development in the Asp.Net community event for developers and business professionals, and the WOWzapp Hackathon, in which students competed in the development of Windows 8® apps.

Cliff Reeves, General Manager, Emerging Business Team at Microsoft, participated in a high-level panel discussion, which highlighted the importance of collaboration between industry players and academic institutions to spearhead IT skills development in Nepal.

Reeves said, “Microsoft aims to establish strong partnerships with local government agencies, academic institutions and industry organisations that will fuel the long-term growth of entrepreneurism and the IT industry. While the focus of Tech Mela 2013 is on inspiring a new generation of IT students by providing them with a look into what the future holds, the event also presents an ideal platform to discuss what businesses in Nepal can do to keep pace with the latest technology developments and changing industry requirements.”

During Tech Mela 2013, MIC Nepal showcased the latest Microsoft products and technologies, as well as the wide range of employment opportunities made available to students through Microsoft’s learning campaigns. Participants gained hands-on experience through technology presentations conducted by MIC Nepal that cover the latest Microsoft offerings, including Windows 8, Visual Studio 2012® and SQL Azure™.

Microsoft also invited successful IT professionals such as Karmath Dangol, Vice President of Engineering at CloudFactory.com, to share their personal experience in developing a successful tech venture.

Other highlights of the event included tech blogger Anil Aakar from Aakar Post, who presented on the effective use of social media, and an inspiring presentation from Sagar Prasai, Consultant for Equity and Inclusion at WaterAid Nepal, who shared with the audience how he has been motivated to provide computer training for visually-impaired people despite suffering from a physical disability that has left him wheelchair-bound.

Dr Prasai said, “Besides fostering innovation in Nepal, Tech Mela 2013 also highlighted how access to technology holds the key to broadening the impact of social initiatives across the country. These initiatives and community projects can range from providing underprivileged students with the latest technologies to develop new skills, to extending more dedicated services to enrich the lives of people who are suffering from severe disabilities.”