Students from the winning Bahrain and Qatar team (top) and a
member of the Bahrain team.
Bahrain, Qatar team win Pan-Arab Imagine Cup
Doha, June 4, 2014
Students from Bahrain and Qatar will be representing the Middle East region at Microsoft’s global student technology competition - 'Worldwide Finals of Imagine Cup 2014.'
The ‘Butterfly’ team from Bahrain and ‘I Copy You’ team from Qatar have won the first Pan-Arab session of Microsoft’s Imagine Cup held in Qatar and hosted 23 teams from 12 Arab countries.
Challenged to innovate across Microsoft’s technology platforms, the students competed against each team presenting projects that tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems.
More than 140 students, mentors and judges from Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and the UAE took part in the Semi-Finals, which culminated with the June 3 crowning ceremony.
The Bahraini team was announced winner in the innovation category, after presenting a project called “Nail Polish Mixer; a mobile application controlled by one machine that enables women to create their own nail polish mix, test different colours, match it with skin types, and choose between three shades of colour (normal, glitter and matte) then share it across all social media platforms.
The Qatar University team was announced the winner in the citizenship category, after presenting low-cost educational software designed to build communications skills among children with autism.
Utilizing Microsoft’s Kinect camera, the software detects the motions of the child and provides feedback to a RoboSapien - a low cost humanoid robot - which uses the information to mimic the movements of the child.
For the two winning teams, the journey has just begun. On July 29, 35 teams will advance to the WW finals, 6 of which are from Middle East & Africa and two of MEA are from the Pan-Arab event in Seattle, Washington (US) to compete for top prizes and support for their ideas through special competitions, including the Facebook Creativity Award and Skype Award.
New in 2014, the top team in each category at the Worldwide Finals will be given the opportunity to take part in Imagine Cup Boot Camp, during which they will receive hands-on mentorship and project development support from Microsoft and industry experts.
During the contest, all projects were scored by an expert panel on their concept, execution and feasibility. Additionally, judges from across the Arab world gathered in Doha and selected the six-short listed teams whose projects they believed had the most social impact in the market.
The expert panel comprised Naseem Tuffaha, Online Evangelism senior director (Microsoft); Aben Kvoor, the developer experience group lead (MEA); Ahmed Adel (sales and operations director) Microsoft Corporation, MEA; Amintas Lopes Neto, the director (Developers and Startups) Microsoft Corporation, MEA and Michael Mansour, DPE lead (Microsoft Gulf) and Nabil Nuseibeh, the chief operations officer at Ebla Corporation.
Following two rigorous days of qualification rounds in Doha with Qatar’s Minister of Information and Communications Technology attending the final deliberations, Microsoft hosted a press conference today (June 4) morning to discuss the winning projects and their potential impact.
Following the announcement of the winners, Qatar's Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Dr Hessa Al Jaber, said: "Each year, Imagine Cup brings together three things I am truly passionate about: technology, youth and imagination. Two impressive projects from Qatar University - 'I Copy You' and 'Techno Commando Squad' - have made Qatar proud and truly represented the country's entrepreneurial spirit and talent over the past several days."
"This year, I am proud to see Qatar play host to the first Pan-Arab Semi-Finals and heartened to see Imagine Cup - an invaluable foundation for students and entrepreneurs to build their technology skills - grow a lasting legacy in the region. Over the past decade, Qatar has made great strides in building an advanced ICT sector and supporting the young people whose ideas move that sector forward," she stated.
"The skills that each student will take home from Imagine Cup are absolutely essential not only for building a business but for building successful careers in the generations to come. Congratulations to all teams and good luck in Seattle," said Dr Al Jaber.
An elated Bahraini team said: “We would like to thank Microsoft for this wonderful experience, and we are both very excited to take our idea forward and compete with the rest of the teams in Seattle. Thank you Microsoft for helping us transform our dream into reality, and hopefully one day, you will see our idea sold in the market.”
“We are very excited to represent the state of Qatar and the Arab region in the World finals this July in Seattle. We believe this is a huge responsibility that we must fulfill till the very end, and we thank Microsoft for supporting throughout all this period, and for giving us the chance to accomplish our dreams.” stated the Qatari team.
Lauding the winners, Samer Abu-Ltaif, the regional GM of Microsoft Gulf, said: "At Microsoft, we believe in the innovative power of the region and the talent that is based here. Imagine Cup is designed to cultivate that spirit of entrepreneurialism and build skills throughout a year-long engagement."
"Microsoft has been a longstanding partner helping to power innovation through technology in the region - a top priority for creating economic opportunity and building skills for the future. Our hope is that all students taking part in the Imagine Cup Pan-Arab Semi-Finals will use it as a foundation to grow their entrepreneurial skills and go on to start up their own business," he added.-TradeArabia News Service