HONG KONG, June 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Team Hollo, an iDendron incubatee from the University of Hong Kong (HKU), won the 2020 Microsoft Imagine Cup World Champion with a mental health platform connecting a mobile app for users and a web application for mental health professionals; leveraging their own technology with Azure analytics and AI services to advance youth therapy practices. This is the first team from Hong Kong to have won the World Champion since the launch of the Microsoft Imagine Cup in 2003.
Hollo Team members, Cameron van Breda (Final Year, Bachelor of Science), Ajit Krishna Namakkal Raghavendran (Year 3, Bachelor of Engineering) and Piyush Jha from India (Final Year, Bachelor of Engineering) met at HKU. The team noticed that mental health aid was not reaching the younger generations in their communities effectively and envision a future of tech-based, accessible, and comprehensive mental health management tools. With this in mind, Team Hollo developed a mental health companion web application leveraging Azure analytics and AI services to advance youth therapy practices.
Over 28,000 students from more than 200 countries registered to take part in the Microsoft Imagine Cup and only 10 teams were selected for the Asia Regional Final. Earlier in February this year, Hollo had won the title of World Finalist in the Asia Regional Final with their impactful solution. In winning the World Champion, the team won USD100,000, a mentoring session with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and USD50,000 in Azure grants.
The Microsoft Imagine Cup aims to empower students to use their imagination and passion for technology to develop innovative and inclusive solutions that tackle key societal issues. Held online this year due to the pandemic, it is the first time a Hong Kong team took home the Cup, often called the "Olympics of student tech competitions."
Piyush is an HKU Final Year Engineering student from Delhi Public School, Indore who majors in Computer Science and minors in Finance. With a 97% score in the All India Senior School Certificate Examination, Piyush received the HKU Foundation Scholarship with a full tuition fee waiver and living allowance which is renewable for his entire undergraduate study at HKU. With HKU's extensive global exchange network, Piyush was able to go on a summer exchange programme at the University of British Columbia in 2017. His outstanding GPA also won him the HKSAR Government Scholarship Fund – The Reaching Out Award for the exchange in Vancouver, Canada. On top of that, Piyush is a two-time recipient of the HKSAR Government Talent Development Scholarship for his extraordinary performance in international competitions involving technological innovation challenges and computer science hackathons.
Ajit is currently a Third Year Engineering student who majors in Computer Science at HKU. Originally from Chennai, he was raised in Hong Kong from a young age and has always been curious and innovative growing up. Since studying at HKU, he participated in various international competitions and was a Finalist in the Global Legal Hackathon for which he went to New York City to pitch in the finals. He is also a recipient of the Funding for Experiential Learning Projects from the Tam Wing Fan Innovation Wing of HKU. He has recently completed a 1-year internship in Asia's leading digital asset company, BC Group.
When asked about how HKU has supported the team in pursuit of their tech aspirations, Team Hollo said, "iDendron at HKU has been a huge help to Hollo. It organised workshops for industry leaders and entrepreneurs to share with us their experiences and perspectives. We were also given networking opportunities to connect with potential elite founders from a wide spectrum of fields who have a common vision to create an impact to the world."
Team Hollo added, "The Faculty of Science's new minor, Science Entrepreneurship, has brought us insights via critical analysis of enterprises and taught us the connection of academic knowledge with the real world. It is this minor that has enlightened us on how to create something impactful and feasible at the same time."
HKU Chief Innovation Officer Dr. Yiwu HE congratulates Team Hollo, "It demonstrated the growing culture of innovation and entrepreneurship on campus among both academics and students here at HKU. We should think not only in terms of pursuing a new idea or concept for discovery, but to facilitate excellent research that results in products that impacts the world. we hope HKU will incubate many successful companies with innovative products to help grow the high-tech industry and provide the younger generation with more opportunities in Hong Kong."
About HKU iDendron
iDendron, HKU Innovation & Entrepreneurship Hub, was launched in 2017 with the aim of nurturing entrepreneurial and innovative spirit on campus, incubating HKU early-stage startups, establishing interdisciplinary cooperation and engaging the community to support human endeavors and society developments.
For more details, please visit: https://idendron.hku.hk/
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