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If you’re a student developer looking for a chance to showcase your skills on an international stage, make an impact in your community, and win some amazing prizes, our global technology competition, Imagine Cup, is the place to be. Hailed as the “Olympic games for technology students”, we believe that anything is possible when student creativity and passion are combined with Microsoft technologies.
But don’t just take our word for it-- we recently sat down with Global Competition Manager, Pablo Veramendi, for answers to frequently asked questions about the competition, and how you can bring your idea to life. Don’t miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime!
Imagine Cup Q&A
What is the Imagine Cup?
The Imagine Cup is Microsoft’s global student technology competition, where we accept projects from young developers across the globe to help shape how we live, work, and play. Through the competition, students can use their creativity and passion to build a project with the potential for global impact.
Past competitors have created applications tackling some of the world’s biggest social, environmental, and health challenges. Others have built projects inspired by what's meaningful to them, such as an application to help people become more effective at public speaking, or an education-focused online community to connect with fellow students. We have the tools and technology to help you bring your project to life, all you need to get started is an idea.
How do I get started?
Do you have a vision for an application to improve your community? Bring it to life using Microsoft technology. Here are the five steps you need to get started with the Imagine Cup:
- Register for the competition
- Form a team of one to three people
- Come up with a project idea (check out our YouTube for inspiration)
- Use free credit in Azure for Students and tutorials in Microsoft Learn to build key cloud skills, like AI and Machine Learning, to bring your project to life.
- Submit your project to the Regional Online Semifinal by the due date for your region (see more information about submission dates below).
Check out more details in our step by step guide to the competition.
Why should I compete?
In addition to priceless mentorship, travel, and networking opportunities, you have the chance to improve the world around us with your passion. We believe the next great thing could come from anyone, at any time, and our goal is to empower everyone to achieve more.
For some students, the chance to travel and pitch to industry leaders will create standout moments. For others, pursuing an idea that could change the world will stretch their skills and boost their confidence. Whatever your motivation, we want to encourage you to take the next step and join a like-minded community of passionate, purpose-driven tech enthusiasts who are ready to grow together.
How do I find a team?
If you’re not sure how to create a team, try connecting with other students in your local community and school groups. Another great way to form a team is by attending a hackathon. Some of our 2019 Imagine Cup Regional Finalists first met at University hackathons, started building their idea together, and then traveled the world to compete!
How do I think of a project idea?
If you’re looking for inspiration in brainstorming an idea, check out the Imagine Cup YouTube channel to watch project pitches from past teams and see their journeys through the competition. You can also follow Imagine Cup on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to see what students are working on around the world and get tech resources to help you get started. Past competitors have created projects like a machine learning algorithm that detects wildfires to a HoloLens app that helps children with dyslexia to improve their reading skills. Build something that matters to you!
How can Imagine Cup help me build technology and business skills?
The Imagine Cup is a great opportunity to build your business and tech skills through hands-on application. Through the competition, you have the chance to develop a project pitch and build a business plan for your idea and receive feedback along the way.
We have resources like Azure for Students, Microsoft Learn, and more to help you develop key cloud skills in AI, Machine Learning, and other trending technologies. In addition, students who advance to the Regional Finals will receive in-person pitch training and mentorship from Microsoft professionals, plus have the opportunity to attend Ignite| The Tour events to learn about the latest and greatest in technology.
What are the Imagine Cup competition phases?
The Imagine Cup has 4 key competition phases:
- Register your project and bring it to life using Microsoft tools. Make sure to submit your project by the deadline for your region.
- Regional Online Semifinals round. Once you’ve submitted your project, our expert judges will review every submission and select who will advance.
- In-person Asia, EMEA, and Americas Regional Finals, hosted in Singapore, Amsterdam, and Mexico City, respectively. You could win free travel to pitch your project live and receive mentorship from industry experts!
- Imagine Cup World Championship in Seattle, Washington, where top teams from each Regional final will travel to compete for the grand prize of USD100,000,USD50,000 in Azure credits, and a mentoring session with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella!
What can I win?
There are so many great prizes that students can take home from competing in the Imagine Cup, including the chance to make a difference in the lives of those around them.
Regional Finals Prizes:
Teams selected to compete in the Regional Finals will win travel to their regional event in either Amsterdam, Singapore, or Mexico City, plus receive in-person pitch training from industry experts, mentorship from Microsoft professionals, and the chance to attend Microsoft Ignite | The Tour sessions. In addition:
- The top 2 Regional Finalist teams will win USD8,000, Azure credits, and a trip to the 2020 World Championship in Seattle, Washington.
- The 3 runner-up teams will win USD2,500 and Azure credits
- All teams have a chance to win the People’s Choice Award, voted for by Ignite | The Tour attendees.
World Championship Prizes:
The top 2 teams from each Regional Final will travel to Seattle to compete in the Imagine Cup World Championship. The winner will receive USD100,000 cash, USD50,000 in Azure grants, and a mentoring session with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
When are project submissions due?
Each region has a specific submission deadline for the Online Semifinals round:
- Asia competitors – December 1, 2019
- EMEA competitors - December 15, 2019
- Americas competitors – January 15, 2020
Who is eligible to compete?
If you’re at least 16 years old, are an actively enrolled student, and have a unique solution which utilizes Microsoft Azure technology, you are eligible to compete in Imagine Cup! Check out our Rules and Regulations for complete eligibility criteria.
Bring your tech idea to life with the Imagine Cup and make a difference through creativity, collaboration, and coding. Register today!