29 MARS 2019

ISG Microsoft Club : Imagine Cup... Zero to Hero!

Le moins que l'on puisse dire, c'est que nous sommes fiers et honorés de partager avec vous la gloire de l'un des membres de ISG Microsoft Club : Safwen Bouali.

Lisez plus et laissez-vous inspirer

Voici le témoinage de notre gagnant :

Holding in my right hand the Imagine Cup trophy, and in my left hand the 2nd place's trophy in EMEA Finals (Europe, Middle East and Africa), I look back to 4 years as a member of the Microsoft community, currently my 3rd year as a Student Partner, the imagine cup was a big dream since the first day I got to university, so does this experience delivers on the promise? Athena-io (our company) was selected to participate in the EMEA finals. From thousands of people and teams, only 12 teams were selected from the the whole region, I mean, wow! It took us few days to realize how big this was for our project, and for us as founders. It was a word of recognition to the hard work we've been putting for years, and for it to come from Microsoft? wow, that's something else! It is really awesome to share this passion of ours with people that do understand the impact of the technology us and the other teams are building, these teams are really changing the world. Mentors and judges were really top notch! they "really understood" the technicalities and the impact of each and every project and did not have an "abstract" prejudice of technology and entrepreneurship that they projected on the projects, no... these individuals really knew everything about each technology we used and challenged every team to justify the use of that technology to solve the given problem with their several years of experience launching and managing world-class startups/companies; and from our experience, this plays a huge role in having a credible, honest and merit-based judgment. No alt text provided for this image Mentors stressed the importance of designing around customers (I guess Steve Blank's book is really everywhere these days), to using "state of the art" technologies to better serve those customers; and the teams did not disappoint, I'm super proud that I have met these bright minds. We joined the Microsoft community as students and then as Microsoft Student Partners, we had insights and mentorship from professionals and technology enthusiasts. The journey wasn't easy. We started working on the company back in a hackathon (NASA Space Apps 2016) and what a roller coaster this was, we got hit hard, pivoted, succeeded, failed and re-iterated again and again (we pivoted 5 times, I guess, and I'll take this moment to thank the people who believed in us through the years). My personal takeaway from this is the following message I relay to all "millennials" and founders worldwide: Starting a company is not something you do to escape job interviews you suck at, it's not a goal, it's not an end in itself... it's an artifact of the passion that drives you to live as a human being, a side-effect of the work you put to solve local/global problems and help level the field for humans, building a merit-based reality. Athena-io couldn't have been here without a strong self-criticism and growth culture within the founders, we challenged each other's ideas and built an enterprise level product, without funding, while having other jobs to sustain ourselves, and also studying. And the Imagine Cup? this year we applied by chance, the deadline was January the 20th and the decision to apply was taken that day at 9pm. We prepared a pitch video, packaged the software, published the cloud app, created a document with software instructions and filled the form. And as we hit the "submit" button, it was one minute past the deadline, but thanks to the IC team, we still managed to submit our project, and here we are : Winners of the 2nd place at the Microsft Imagine Cup EMEA finals!