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January 27, 2012 at 8:51 AM

Student tech entrepreneurs win Imagine Cup grants from Microsoft

A team of college students from the U.S. is among the four teams worldwide that have won Imagine Cup grants, a Microsoft-funded program that awards money and assistance to student technology and social entrepreneurs.

Team Lifelens — including students Tristan Gibeau, Cy Khormaee, Wilson To, Jason Wakizaka and Helena Xu, who attend colleges including UCLA, U.C. Davis and Harvard — created a point-of-care tool to diagnose malaria using an augmented Windows Phone application.

The team will receive $75,000; software and computing support from Microsoft; access to resources from Microsoft BizSpark, which helps tech startups; and connections to investors and NGOs.

The other three winning teams, announced today by Microsoft at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, were from Croatia, Ecuador and Jordan.

The teams vying for the grants all had to be finalists in the Imagine Cup 2011 Worldwide Finals, held last year in New York. 100 teams were finalists; about 50 of them applied for the grants.

This is the first year that Microsoft has given the grants to winners, which are intended to help the students create a business or nonprofit to bring their ideas to fruition.

It’s the 10th year for the Imagine Cup, a competition Microsoft sponsors in which students, age 16 and up, use technology to solve the world’s problems.

“Our hope for the grant recipients is they’ll be able to use the resources which are made available by Microsoft … to build their ideas into thriving, effective and practical businesses,” said Akhtar Badshah, senior director of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Microsoft.

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