The winning team of the 2014 Microsoft Nigeria Imagine Cup, a student competition which centers on the use of imagination, creativity and technology to help solve some of the world’s toughest problems, has been announced.
Imagine Cup is more than a competition. As part of Microsoft’s YouthSpark initiative, it is a way for young entrepreneurs, innovators and developers to have the opportunity to develop an idea, create a product, and set a clear business plan that will take their product to market. In previous years, only a few of the very best teams made it all the way to the World Finals and received global recognition for their hard work. In this year’s Imagine Cup, every first-place winner of the National and Online Finals will be able to compete in a whole new round: the World Semifinals launching on the 1st May.
This round allows all of these first-place teams to be celebrated on the Imagine Cup website so everyone can hear their stories, see their projects, and be inspired by their imagination and passion. World Semifinalists will compete against each other in a global judging round to select the few teams invited to the World Finals – but every single World Semifinalist team will be eligible for prizes including Imagine Cup’s Visual Studio Online Boost, in which nine teams will receive $1,000 each for using the cloud-based power of Visual Studio Online to collaborate, plan, and implement their projects.
In total, 9 teams from Nigeria competed during a challenging day of presentations, which brought together students from universities across the country. This year’s winner, in the category of World Citizenship, is Team High Rise from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomosho, with their solution, Catara which serves the purpose of drastically reducing the rate at which cataract causes total blindness. Adefioye Temidayo, Faleye Benjamin, Oyebisi Jemil and Ibraheem Bello of Team High Rise will stand the chance to compete in the Imagine Cup World Semifinals, which will take place in Seattle in July 2014.
“We are so excited to have won today’s competition – and to have the opportunity to represent Nigeria at the World Semifinals,” said Adefioye Temidayo of Team High Rise. “And we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to compete with students from around the globe who, like us, are passionate about making a difference in the world.”
The competitors in the Nigerian Finals for Imagine Cup 2014 have joined student innovators from across the globe to take their innovative and ground-breaking ideas from concept to marketplace with Microsoft resources. Each of the 9 competitors were honoured for their work to address some of Nigeria’s toughest challenges.
In 2nd place, was Team Eagle from The Federal University of Akure (FUTA), with their solution Enchanter, which created virtual business cards that can be shared using near field communication (NFC). I
Team ABU from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, came 3rd with their solution Mayday, which acts as an emergency alert and response application.
“Each team that competed in the competition is deserving of the highest recognition for the creativity and imagination applied to some of the world’s biggest challenges. We’re proud to honour these young students who we believe truly exemplify the spirit of the Imagine Cup competition, and we’ll be cheering Team High Rise on as they compete on the world stage,” said Shina Oyetosho, Director, Developer Platform Evangelist for Microsoft Nigeria.
Oyetosho added, “Imagine Cup is also directly aligned with the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative that was launched last year as it drives access to technology, innovation and world-class skills. We believe deeply that technology can accelerate growth for Africa, and Africa can also accelerate technology for the world.”
This year, in keeping with the changes to the Imagine Cup competition, new contests have been added including: the Pitch Video Challenge, which since September last year has allowed students to submit a five minute video pitch for their project. The competition is also in the final weeks of the Project Blueprint Challenge, where teams take a deep dive into their thinking and prepare a ten-page document exploring their concept and creating user personas, top user stories, business models, and demonstrate how they have already sought and incorporated feedback from potential users. In January 2014 the User Experience Challenge was launched to recognize great design as being more important to great software than ever.
“Teams who compete in all three contests will end up with significantly better Imagine Cup projects because they will be prepared to pitch, plan, and build their ideas,” says Oyetosho.
More than 1.65 million students across the globe have participated in Imagine Cup during the past decade, creating applications and games that address the world’s toughest social problems. Last year, Team Code 8 from Uganda won the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Award for their app, Matibabu, which helps detect Malaria without pricking a body part. By attaching a Kinect sensor to a user’s finger, their malaria status is fed into their smartphone within seconds, and for free. “From the heart of Africa, here is an innovation that has the potential to save lives all over the world,” says Oyetosho. The team won USD 12 000 in addition to training and mentorship to develop their application.
Team High Rise will join the brightest young minds to represent Africa, and like team Code 8, show how the power of technology can take on Africa’s and the world’s toughest problems.