Microsoft has announced the names of the student teams that will be heading to St. Petersburg, Russia for the finals of this years Imagine Cup. And it is an impressive line-up.
Do you remember the opening ceremony from last year's Olympic Games where the teams filed in alphabetically and it took for ever just to reach C. With 86 teams representing 69 countries around the globe, the 2013 Imagine Cup can now claim to be a worldwide event.
The 305 students still in the competition are just a fraction of the more than 25,000 who participated this year, more than 70 percent increase on last year. To reach the finals teams have already won national heats or global online competitions.
There are now only three teams left in the three Challenge competitions covering Windows 8, Windows Phone and Windows Azure. The winning team in each of these categories will collect $10,000.
There are top prizes of $50,000 for the three main competitions. The most popular is World Citizenship with 36 teams in the running; 30 teams are still in the race for Innovation; and 10 are playing to win in the Games Competition.
This years competition has also attracted several sponsored awards including a KFC Russia Award for projects related to youth culture, healthy lifestyles or nutrition, a Mail.Ru Group Connected Planet Award for projects that embrace online communications and entertainment in fun, useful and innovative ways and the Women's Empowerment Award for technology solutions that empower women to improve their lives that we reported on in February.
It isn't just the money that is at stake; teams that reach the finals 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.
The finals take place from July 8-11 and Microsoft has appointed 30 judges from around the globe. It has also recruited Matt Smith, aka Dr Who, to host the awards ceremony which will be streamed live online.
Imagine Cup Website
Imagine Cup 2013 - With Bigger Prizes
New Imagine Cup Competitions With a Focus on Women
The Imagine Cup, Grants, Education and Careers
Dr Who To Host Imagine Cup Awards Ceremony
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