Microsoft’s Imagine Cup: Transforming Today’s Students into Tomorrow’s IT Entrepreneurs

Posted by bink on August 8 2006, 1:59 AM. Posted in Imagine Cup.

Students who participate in Microsoft’s technology competition imagine a better world enabled by their own genius, creativity and energy.

For many students who participate in Microsoft’s Imagine Cup competition, the experience extends beyond the classroom and becomes a launch pad for a career in information technology. In its fourth year, Imagine Cup is a worldwide technology competition designed to provide opportunities for university students to help define the future of technology, software and computing by designing software with real-world applicability.

This week, winning teams from around the world compete in the Worldwide Imagine Cup Finals in India, with this year’s winners being announced at a ceremony on Aug. 11. In India, 72 teams comprised of 181 students representing 42 countries are competing. Those competing in India were chosen from a pool of more than 65,000 students from more than 100 countries. The competition will conclude with a formal flag-passing from India to Korea, which will host the competition in 2007.

If this year’s participants follow in the footsteps of previous competitors, the awards celebration could very well be the beginning of something big.

Tu Nguyen, for example, was a member of the winning team in 2003. Today, he’s vice president of technology with DocCenter, an Omaha, Neb.-based company specializing in design and delivery of content management technologies.

And Styliani Taplidou, along with the other members of the Greek team that took third place in the 2004 Imagine Cup, have raised more than €500,000 (approximately US$630,000) to help transform the team’s “SmartEyes” application into a viable product that will benefit visually impaired people worldwide.

Connecting Disparate Worlds

Joe Wilson (right), Director of Academic Initiatives for Microsoft, and Sheila Gulati, Director of Developer and Platform Evangelism for Microsoft India announce the start of the of the Imagine Cup 2006 competition, in which 181 students from 72 teams representing 42 different countries will participate. Agra, India, August 9, 2006.
Joe Wilson (right), Director of Academic Initiatives for Microsoft, and Sheila Gulati, Director of Developer and Platform Evangelism for Microsoft India announce the start of the of the Imagine Cup 2006 competition, in which 181 students from 72 teams representing 42 different countries will participate. Agra, India, August 9, 2006.

When Nguyen entered the Imagine Cup competition, he didn’t have a suit, a PowerPoint presentation or even a vague notion of winning. But, based on the experience of working in his family’s restaurant, the University of Nebraska student had an idea – and it turned out to be a winning one.

“I wasn’t a developer, but I turned to the Microsoft .NET Framework for Web Services because my parents needed a better way for American-born waiters to communicate with the Vietnamese chefs in the kitchen,” says Nguyen, who came to the U.S. from Vietnam 13 years ago with his family. “Having restaurant workers who speak both languages is helpful when the chefs do not speak English, but bilingual workers can be hard to find. Also, I saw mistakes occur in the ordering process.” Continue At Source