After a full energy packed day event at Makerere University this past Monday (15th April 2013) where I got to attend Imagine Cup Uganda Finals, the winning team of the 2013 Microsoft Uganda Imagine Cup finals, is team Code 8 from Makerere University Kampala consisting of three students Joshua Busingye, Brian Gitta, and Simon Lubambo. These 3 gentlemen, together with their mentor, Josiah Kavuma, will join the brightest young minds to compete on the world stage in July at St. Petersburg Russia. The 2013 competitors will gain real life experience, make new friends, and harness the power of technology to take on the world’s toughest problems.
The team exhibited Matibabu which is an app, that diagnoses malaria without pricking any body part.Speaking to the boys who won, their reaction could best be described as priceless. “We were speechless. To have won this year’s Uganda country finals – and to have the opportunity to represent our country at Worldwide Imagine Cup along some of the brightest young minds – is an honour,” said the team Code 8 members. “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 Microsoft Imagine Cup is a Premier student competition which centers on the use of imagination, creativity and technology to help solve some of the world’s toughest problems, was launched in 2003 globally and in 2008 in East Africa. For the first time since its inception, East Africa will be represented by 2 teams from Uganda and Kenya at the global finals which will be held at St. Petersburg in Russia in July this year. In total, 150 Ugandan students totaling to 10 teams competed during a challenging day of presentations, which brought together students from universities across the country.
Simon Onyango, Microsoft Business Development Manager in Uganda, attended the event and gave a speech on his advice fromt Microsoft. He challenged the youth to take time to focus on developing technology applications that are wealth creating and not just “cool apps”.
“While many local developers have focused their work on developing consumer applications, it is important that they also look into the opportunities that exist in B2C (Business 2 Consumer) Apps, Independent Software Vendors (ISV) Line of Business Apps and In House Line of Business Apps as these remain largely unexplored and present real business opportunities.” he said.
Mr. Onyango also encouraged the youth to continue developing apps on the Windows 8 platform saying it is not only a game changer but also an operating system that is apps driven. “Windows 8, unlike past operating systems offers a huge, global opportunity for Kenyan developers. They can now easily build, submit and sell through the Windows store with favorable economic terms. There is no learning curve as local developers can use their existing skills, code, certifications, languages and framework preferences to write for Windows.”
This is the first time the East Africa will send 2 teams to Russia. In addition to this, it is the first time the finals in Uganda were jointly being hosted by Microsoft and Makerere University by facilitating the Microsoft Innovation Centre at Makerere, headed by Drake Patrick Mirembe, the MIC Uganda Manager.
“We are proud to be associated with Microsoft and Imagine Cup competition. This is the 6th year Makerere University will be sending students to the worldwide finals and we congratulate this year’s winners for a job well done. Although only one team will proceed to Russia, all competitors today did a commendable job.” Drake commented.
“Each team that competed in Uganda’s country finals is deserving of the highest recognition for the creativity and imagination applied to some of the world’s biggest challenges. We’re proud to honour these young students who we believe truly exemplify the spirit of the Imagine Cup competition, and we’ll be cheering team Code 8 on as they compete on the world stage in St. Petersburg,” said Mr. Onyango.
As part of Microsoft’s YouthSpark initiative, Microsoft Imagine Cup is a way for young entrepreneurs, innovators and developers to have the opportunity to develop an idea, create a product, set a clear business plan and eventually take their product to market. All Imagine Cup Worldwide Finalist teams are eligible to apply for Imagine Cup Grants, a three year 3 Million Dollar investment by Microsoft to help students turn their ideas into reality. Microsoft BizSpark, another YouthSpark initiative, enables Imagine Cup participants to launch startup businesses in their communities and across the web.
One more thing: #ImagineCupUganda was a Nationwide trend on Twitter on 15th April in Uganda. You can track its on Twitter here.