Under the patronage and in presence of H.E. Minister of Telecommunications, Nicolas Sehnaoui, Microsoft Lebanon announced the winners of its 10th annual Imagine Cup competition on 11 May at Berytech Mansourieh. Team CAKE from the American University of Beirut AUB, constituted of Abdel Rahman Abla, Khaled Abdel Rahman and Amer Alameddine, won the first place with their video game that raises awareness of renewable energy. The winning team, named CAKE, will take their project to represent Lebanon in the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2012 Worldwide Finals in Sydney, Australia, from July 6 - 10 2012.
For the 10th year in a row, the Microsoft Imagine Cup competition continues in 183 countries around the world including Lebanon. The competition is a Microsoft endeavor to spur students’ creativity to solve the world’s toughest problems through technology, and empower them to realize their vision using the newest technology platforms. Through this competition, the participants will contribute to meeting the UN Millennium Development Goals by designing mainly software solutions addressing the challenges to meet these goals. This year, more than 20 teams and 70 participants from all major universities in Lebanon have created technology solutions that combat diseases, improve education, ensure environmental sustainability, reduce child hunger and poverty, and tackle other social challenges.
The winning project was a game called TOTL for “Turn on the Light”, a 2D platformer that requests the player to use renewable energy resources – water (Hydropower), solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy and others – to solve the game’s puzzles. Throughout the game, the player receives educational facts about renewable energy resources and at the end of each level, the player uses this knowledge to power up several areas around the world. The aim of this game is to raise awareness of renewable energy resources, and encourage its use in the world. Commenting on their 1st place win, the team CAKE said:”We are very excited about this amazing opportunity to take our project to the Microsoft Imagine Cup Worldwide finals in Sydney; we have many great ideas in mind waiting to be developed in the future and this is just the first step in our journey”.
“Students must be at the forefront of embracing and utilizing new technology, and through competitions like Imagine Cup we provide excellent opportunities for those students that have a passion for technology, entrepreneurial talent and leadership abilities to discover their potential and put it at work early on”, said Leila Serhan Salem, Microsoft Lebanon Country Manager. “When we started this competition in Lebanon ten years ago, we had fewer contestants compared to today where we’re working with up to 70 participants on a wider scale of projects; this reflects the enthusiasm and entrepreneurial spirit our Lebanese youth are developing towards technology that will ultimately contribute to growing the Lebanese Economy”, added Serhan Salem.
Leading up to the local finals, the students prepared their ideas and projects over the course of several months, in close coordination with Microsoft Lebanon technology experts. Notably this year, female students participated in the competition for the first time, and a number of students developed technologies to improve social networking. On 10 and 11 May 2012, all participating teams were invited to present their projects to panels of independent judges including business leaders, academic professors and representatives of Lebanese media and NGOs. Among the judges were: Fady Sabbagha, Gaby Deek, Salam Yamout, Jihad El Murr, Elie Habib and Diana Menhem. After two days of probing and exploring the students’ ideas and projects, the judges selected the top 10 solution concepts on day 1, and a winning team by the end of day 2.
Alongside their golden prize, a life-changing opportunity to participate in the Imagine Cup 2012 Worldwide Competition in Sydney, the winners in the first three places received Windows Phone devices offered by Nokia. Berytech will also award the 1st place team its Incubation Program, helping them develop their project into a startup company through Berytech Technological Poles, including:
- Housing up to 6 months in a managed high-tech environment up to 3 persons
- Counseling, mentoring and coaching in business aspects (marketing plan, finance, strategy…)
- Networking and access to funding
- Participation in Berytech Summer School for Entrepreneurs
- Eligibility to benefit from Seedup Your Startup Program: offering up to $25K in startup money from Berytech Fund