Seattle has always been a pioneer town. Out here in the Pacific Northwest the rugged terrain and the roar of the ocean have marked the frontier, the wilderness, the place where you go to start something new. The city is a young one, founded in 1851, and the twentieth century showed it was a place for new kinds of pioneers: from the aerospace innovations of Boeing to the software powerhouse of Microsoft to the trailblazing online retailer Amazon.com and many more. Today it’s an innovation hub littered with startups, megacorps, and development centers for companies such as Facebook and Twitter.
It’s fitting that this year, Microsoft will be hosting the Imagine Cup world finals in our hometown. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome talented young people from around the world to the Pacific Northwest and offer them a taste of the local culture.
This year’s finalists will get unprecedented opportunities and experiences throughout the competition. They’ll visit Microsoft headquarters in Redmond and experience some of the things that make Seattle, the Emerald City, so great. Today we’re pleased to announce strategic partnerships with Seattle’s Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI), the city-wide Seafair celebration, and the iconic Space Needle. Imagine Cup world finalists are in for an amazing week!
Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) MOHAI’s mission is to spark the innovator in all of us, and on Saturday, August 2 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, MOHAI and Microsoft will host Imagine Cup Day when the museum will open its doors to the public for free and the Imagine Cup finalists will showcase their projects as part of a special one-day only event. Residents of Seattle – techies and families alike – will meet our students and see their projects in action.
Highlighting innovation and education, MOHAI collects and preserves the diverse history of Seattle and Puget Sound in an effort to inspire people to create a better future for themselves and their communities. MOHAI’s Bezos Center for Innovation explores our world’s challenges and presents the next big idea, inspiring innovation. We’re proud to join MOHAI in challenging students to break new ground and solve tough problems facing the world today – exploring the “big idea” and how it might be scaled into a real enterprise.
At the MOHAI Imagine Cup showcase, visitors will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite Imagine Cup project, and the team with the winning project will receive the People’s Choice Award: a $1,000 prize and a donation of $1,000 to their university.
We invite all of Puget Sound to come see our finalists’ incredible talent and creativity, and we encourage visitors to bring school supplies that will be donated to a local charity to help ensure all students have the tools to succeed.
Seafair A Pacific Northwest tradition, Seafair has been a part of the Seattle summer calendar for more than six decades celebrating the water and the engineering innovation that has been a part of the city’s DNA since the early days of Boeing. This eight-week festival encompasses over 75 events, reaches nearly 2 million people annually, and culminates in Seattle’s favorite summertime celebration: Seafair Weekend. Three days of hydroplane racing, a spectacular air show featuring the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and performances by some of the top wakeboarders in the world bring Seattleites and tourists alike together on the shores of Lake Washington year after year. The event is uniquely “Seattle,” and our world finalists will attend the Saturday evening fireworks display and concert. One lucky student team will earn the chance to drop the flag on a hydroplane race.
Over the years, the festival has evolved in a way that delights Seattleites, by continuously incorporating new activities and events that are as diverse as the community it serves. Seafair is a part of what makes up a “Quintessential Northwesterner”—so what better way to showcase Seattle culture to our Finalists from around the World!
The Space Needle Seattle’s most iconic landmark and a symbol of the city’s innovation, the Space Needle is the defining image of the city and a visually stunning encounter.
Built as the centerpiece and inspiration for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, the Space Needle has become a part of the Seattle experience and the globally recognized icon for the city. This year the Space Needle joins with Imagine Cup to help empower the next generation of thinkers and entrepreneurs to foster positive global change through technology innovation, welcoming all the student finalists to experience the view from the 605-foot spire on the day when students take a break from the competition and explore the magic of the city. The top three teams from this year’s Imagine Cup competition will also win the opportunity to take a rare and unforgettable visit to the Space Needle rooftop!
Dreams of the Emerald City
Are you excited yet? I’ve lived here since 1994 and every year this city shows me a new face. It’s an incredible place and all of us at Microsoft are thrilled to welcome our student finalists this July. What Seattle experience do you want to have? Tell us in the comments below and on Facebook and Twitter. And stay tuned for more big news in the coming weeks as we all walk the road to the Imagine Cup 2014 World Finals!
John Scott Tynes
Imagine Cup Program Lead
Microsoft Student Developers