Africa's Imagine Cup finalists
Microsoft has announced the 86 teams that will travel to St. Petersburg, Russia, in July to compete in the 11th annual Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals in pursuit of $1,000,000 in cash prizes and other awards. Each team's innovative ideas, mastery of integrated technology and development of a strong business plan helped them compete in their country during the year, then rise above their peers for the opportunity to represent their country at Microsoft's annual global student technology competition. Imagine Cup is part of the Microsoft YouthSpark initiative to create opportunities for millions of young people around the world.
More students competed in Imagine Cup worldwide this year than ever before, with a more than 70 percent increase from 2012. The best projects advanced to country-level competitions that determined the national teams, while additional teams advanced via a global online competition. Students could compete via Competitions as well as themed Challenges. Competitions are cornerstone events for Imagine Cup that require students to complete applications built on Microsoft technology aligned to three key focus areas: Innovation, World Citizenship and Games.
Challenges provide an opportunity for students to participate in Imagine Cup by learning, prototyping and creating applications using the newest Microsoft technologies. They occur online only, and the top three teams in each category will attend the Worldwide Finals to compete for first-, second- or third-place awards. Challenge categories include the Windows Azure Challenge, Windows Phone Challenge and Windows 8 App Challenge.
"For more than a decade, Imagine Cup has cultivated entrepreneurship in students and has provided them with a vehicle to bring their creativity to life through apps, software platforms and social networks," said Steve Guggenheimer , corporate vice president and chief evangelist at Microsoft. "Participating in initiatives such as Imagine Cup, DreamSpark and BizSpark gives students skills to transition from the classroom to the professional world as business owners, programmers, game designers and entrepreneurs."
Team Colinked from the University of Exeter will represent the United Kingdom at the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals this year in the Innovation Competition, a new category created to celebrate the wider world of student innovations. The team created an app called soundSYNK that uses Bluetooth technology to link an unlimited number of Windows Phones and streams the same song on all of them in perfect timing, effectively creating a symphony of speakers.
"soundSYNK is an impromptu social network that brings people together through the instant sharing of music," said Edward Noel , a member of Team Colinked. "In a year's time we hope to be a fully functioning startup with an app on millions of smartphones."
Students will compete at the Worldwide Finals for first, second and third place in six competition categories, as well as awards presented by Imagine Cup sponsors.
- AppCampus Award. All teams with a Windows Phone project are eligible to apply for this award with a prize of 50,000 euros in funding, airfare and accommodations to attend a four-week AppCampus training event in Finland.
- DreamSpark Learning Award. Teams that developed a project showcasing how software creates new ways of learning and/or teaching are invited to apply for the $5,000 grand prize award.
- Facebook Creativity Award. Worldwide Finalists that integrate Facebook Login into their apps to grow distribution and increase engagement will be eligible for the grand prize of $25,000 in Facebook advertising credits.
- KFC Russia Award. Worldwide finalist teams with Kinect for Xbox 360 projects related to youth culture, healthy lifestyles or nutrition will be eligible to win the $10,000 prize and have their project featured at the KFC flagship restaurant in Moscow.
- Mail.Ru Group Connected Planet Award. Projects that embrace online communications and entertainment in fun, useful and innovative ways are eligible for these prizes: first place, $10,000; second place, $5,000; and third place, $3,000.
- Women's Empowerment Award. Presented in partnership with UN Women, this award will be given to teams that create technology solutions that empower women to improve their lives. The first-place prize is $12,000 and second place is$8,000.
Worldwide Finalists with projects focused on social good also have the chance to apply for Microsoft Imagine Cup Grants, part of a $3 million investment by Microsoft through its YouthSpark initiative to help students turn their ideas for social good into reality.
Imagine Cup Worldwide Finalists
The Imagine Cup Worldwide Finalist teams include: (with a full list is also available on the Imagine Cup website)
Country, Category, Team Name:
- Algeria, World Citizenship, Ask Design
- Angola, Games, UMA
- Botswana, World Citizenship. Tandabala
- Egypt, Innovation, MASKed Ninjas
- Kenya, Innovation, Team PI Craft
- Mauritania, Innovation, One World
- Morocco, Innovation, GreenMust
- Nigeria, World Citizenship, LifeSaver
- South Africa, Innovation, South Africa
- Tunisia, World Citizenship, WiseTeam
- Uganda, World Citizenship, Code 8
- West & Central Africa, World Citizenship, Kernel