Yesterday, Microsoft Corp. announced the winners of the second annual Imagine Cup Grants, a three-year, US $3 million competitive grant program that provides students with funding and support to help transform their project into a social enterprise or nonprofit that will address a specific social issue. The Imagine Cup Grants are part of Microsoft’s YouthSpark initiative that aims to create opportunities for 300 million youth over the next 3 years.
Australia’s Team StethoCloud were awarded the second place grant of $75,000 for developing a solution to diagnose childhood pneumonia.
The grand prize grant of $100,000 was awarded to Team Graphmasters from Germany for their solution called nunav that reduces vehicle carbon emissions through an innovative navigation system. There were also grants of $50,000 each to Team Vivid from Egypt who built a mobile app to access medical records leveraging the cloud; Team Cipher256 from Uganda for their mobile app and listening device to analyze fetal heart rates; and Team QuadSquad from Ukraine who created a solution that transforms sign language into verbal communication.
The teams used technologies that include Windows 8, Windows Azure, Windows Phone, Bing Maps and more.
The grant winners were among the finalists at the Imagine Cup 2012 Worldwide Finals, a global competition that invites students to develop a technology, create a business plan and gain a keen understanding of what they need to bring their concept to market. The Imagine Cup Grants program takes the competition further by helping students turn their ideas into reality by creating a real business or nonprofit. As part of Microsoft YouthSpark, the Imagine Cup Grants program is one way Microsoft is helping young people pursue an education, find employment, and foster entrepreneurship.
In addition to the cash awards, the grant packages include software, cloud computing services, solution provider support, premium Microsoft BizSpark account benefits and access to local resources such as the Microsoft Innovation Centers. Microsoft will also connect grant recipients with its network of investors, nongovernmental organization partners and business partners, and will work with the grant recipients to tailor individual support as needed depending on the progress each team has made so far with its project.