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April 9, 2014 at 5:48 PM

Microsoft’s Imagine Cup finals showcase to be open to general public

The Imagine Cup world finals, the last leg of Microsoft’s annual competition for student developers, will be held in Seattle for the first time in its 12-year history and the Seattle public will be able to able to view some of the student projects.

The finals, which will take place July 29 to Aug. 2, brings together teams of high school and college students from around the world who are competing to create technology solutions in one of three categories: social issues such as education, healthcare and the environment;  innovation; and games. The teams that make it to the world finals are those that have made it past their national finals, and the world semi-finals.

One of the finalist teams will get to meet Bill Gates. And the winning team in each of the three categories will receive $50,000 per team as well as opportunities to receive mentoring.

The Museum of History and Industry, one of the local organizations partnering with Microsoft on the world finals, will host Imagine Cup Day on Aug. 2. On that day, admission to the museum will be free and visitors will get to see the teams’ projects and meet the students who created them. Visitors will also be able to vote for their favorite project with the winning team of that vote getting a $1,000 prize and a $1,000 donation to the team’s school.

“In twelve years, Imagine Cup has held the finals all over the world, and yet never in Microsoft’s own hometown. We felt it was time to bring the student competitors to Seattle where they could experience being at Microsoft and everything the city has to offer,” said Diane Nye, Microsoft’s senior marketing manager for student developer evangelism. “Over time, the Imagine Cup program has grown beyond its origins as a world citizenship technology competition and become a key part of Microsoft’s engagement with student developers. As part of that growth, Imagine Cup has beefed up its skill building and mentorship opportunities for students, and we felt the natural home for that was Microsoft headquarters.”

Though Microsoft has typically invited representatives of local colleges and universities to the Imagine Cup finals’ public showcase, this is the first time the company is partnering with a local organization and inviting the general public, Nye said.

No word yet on who will be the host for this year’s Imagine Cup finals. Last year’s host was “Doctor Who” star Matt Smith.


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