Two teams; Project 1 and AfriGal Tech chosen to represent the country at World Semifinals on May 1st

AfriGal TechKampala, Uganda — 14 April 2013 —  The winning teams of the 2014 Microsoft Uganda Imagine Cup, a student competition which centers on the use of imagination, creativity and technology to help solve some of the world’s toughest problems, were announced on 12th April.

Imagine Cup is more than a competition. As part of Microsoft’s YouthSparkinitiative, it is a way for young entrepreneurs, innovators and developers to have the opportunity to develop an idea, create a product, and set a clear business plan that will take their product to market. In previous years, only a few of the very best teams made it all the way to the World Finals and received global recognition for their hard work. In this year’s Imagine Cup, every first-place winner of the National and Online Finals will be able to compete in a whole new round: the World Semifinals launching on 1st May.

This round allows all of these first-place teams to be celebrated on theImagine Cup website  so everyone can hear their stories, see their projects, and be inspired by their imagination and passion. World Semifinalists will compete against each other in a global judging round to select the few teams invited to the World Finals – but every single World Semifinalist team will be eligible for prizes including Imagine Cup’s Visual Studio Online Boost, in which nine teams will receive $1,000 each for using the cloud-based power of Visual Studio Online to collaborate, plan, and implement their projects.

The top five finalist teams from Uganda competed during a challenging day of presentations, which brought together students from universities across the country. Two winning teams were selected in each category, World Citizenship and Innovation, to represent the country in the World Semifinals; AfriGal Tech from Makerere University, who developed an application calledmDex, a smart phone-based sickle cell diagnosis alternative that will provide easy, low-cost fast, reliable and accurate diagnosis, and Project 1 also from Makerere University, developed Macotuba an application that does breath diagnosis of tuberculosis when a maco device is connected to a mobile phone via Bluetooth. AfriGal Tech comprised of team members; Bonita Nanziri, Rachel Aitaru, Rebecca Arono and Beatrice Nasike were also recognized as the overall winners of the national finals for their outstanding performance and determination as they were the only all-girl team in the finalists. Both teams will go on to compete in the Imagine Cup World Semifinals and World Finals, of which the latter will take place in Seattle, USA in July 2014.

“We are so excited to have won today’s competition – and to have the opportunity to represent Uganda at the World Semifinals,” said Project 1 team members Joshua Wabulo, Jingo Kisakye and Julian Muheirwe. “And we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to compete with students from around the globe who, like us, are passionate about making a difference in the world.”

The competitors in the Ugandan Finals for Imagine Cup 2014 have joined student innovators from across the globe to take their innovative and ground-breaking ideas from concept to marketplace with Microsoft resources. Each of the five finalists were honored, last week Saturday, for their work to address some of Uganda’s toughest challenges:

The other teams were Afri-Spark, Team Smart Code, and Technology Innovation Group which was from Uganda Christian University, Mukono.

“Each team that competed in the competition is deserving of the highest recognition for the creativity and imagination applied to some of the world’s biggest challenges. We’re proud to honor these young students who we believe truly exemplify the spirit of the Imagine Cup competition, and we’ll be cheering both teams Project 1 and AfriGal tech on as they compete on the world stage,” said Eric Odipo, General Manager for Microsoft East and Southern Africa.

Odipo added, “Imagine Cup is also directly aligned with the Microsoft 4AfrikaInitiative that was launched earlier this year as it drives access to technology, innovation and world-class skills. We believe deeply that technology can accelerate growth for Africa, and Africa can also accelerate technology for the world.”

This year, in keeping with the changes to the Imagine Cup competition, new contests have been added including: the Pitch Video Challenge, which since September last year has allowed students to submit a five minute video pitch for their project. The competition is also in the final weeks of the Project Blueprint Challenge, where teams take a deep dive into their thinking and prepare a ten-page document exploring their concept and creating user personas, top user stories, business models, and demonstrate how they have already sought and incorporated feedback from potential users. In January 2014 the User Experience Challenge was launched to recognize great design as being more important to great software than ever.

“Teams who compete in all three contests will end up with significantly better Imagine Cup projects because they will be prepared to pitch, plan, and build their ideas,” says Odipo.

More than 1.65 million students across the globe have participated in Imagine Cup during the past decade, creating applications and games that address the world’s toughest social problems. Last year, Team Code 8 from Uganda won the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Award for their app, Matibabu, which helps detect Malaria without pricking a body part. By attaching a Kinect sensor to a user’s finger, their malaria status is fed into their smartphone within seconds, and for free. “From the heart of Africa, here is an innovation that has the potential to save lives all over the world,” says Odipo. The team won USD 12 000 in addition to training and mentorship to develop their application.

Teams Project 1 and AfriGal Tech will join the brightest young minds to represent Africa, and like team Code 8,  show how the power of technology can take on Africa’s and the world’s toughest problems.