By Emmanuel Elebeke
In July 2010, the Imagine Cup, the worldâ€™s premiere student technology competition created by Microsoft will take place in Poland. Microsoft Nigeria is actively encouraging schools and students across Nigeria to compete for a place in the final.
The Imagine Cup encourages young people in tertiary education to apply their imagination, their passion and their creativity to technology innovations that can make a difference in todayâ€™sÂ world.
Development Platform Manager for Microsoft Nigeria, Ken Spann said Microsoft went into the project with the belief that â€œevery major success in the world started out as just an idea in the mind of one person somewhere.
â€œThis is the recipe that inspired Microsoft to create the Imagine Cup. What begins with a burst of inspiration and a lot of hard work can now become a future software breakthrough, a future career, or a flourishing new industry.â€
He said the competition is open to students around the world, adding that the Imagine Cup is a serious challenge that draws serious talent, in an intense competition. The contest spans a year, beginning with local and, regional contests which then culminate in a Pan_African contest. While the winners will then go on to attend the worldwide finals.
In 2009 more than 158 Nigerian students competed for a place in the finals which took place in Cairo, Egypt. This year,Â Microsoft said itÂ is aiming to encourage up to 500 students to compete from 25 schools across the country. The regional finals to determine which of these 25 teams will travel to Poland to compete in the 2010 Imagine Cup finals will take place in May.
According to Spann, there is a cash prize of USD25,000 awarded to the winning team. As a reward to schools and students who elect to compete, registered Imagine Cup participants can download 18 Microsoft products for free.
Among the 18 products available for free download are Windows Server 2008 R2 on which the following products can be installed: Visual Studio Beta 2010 Ultimate, Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition, SQL Server 2008 Developer and Robotics Developer Studio 2008 R.2.
â€œWe wanted to do something to reward the schools who invest the time and commitment to participate in this competition.
â€œWhile registered participants can download this software for free, Microsoft appreciates that this is a significant drain on bandwidth resources. Any participants struggling to access the software via the internet should contact me or The Nigerian Computer Society so that Microsoft can provide the software directly if needed.
â€œAdditionally, we do recommend that participants install Windows Internet Explorer 8, the new Web browser from Microsoft which is both easier to use and faster before downloading the products,â€ he said.
President of the NCS,Â Professor Professor Charles Uwadia, described the imaging cup as an idea that can help our young leaders to focus their dreams, ideas and creative energiesÂ into projects that benefit our world.