Public-private partnership to drive Imagine Cup as a platform that empowers local youth to accelerate Thailand’s Digital Economy
BANGKOK, 29 April 2015 – Microsoft (Thailand) Limited, with support from partners including Electronic Transactions Development Agency (Public Organization) (ETDA), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Kasikornbank (KBank), today announced the three winning teams for the World Citizenship, Games and Innovation competitions of Imagine Cup Thailand 2015. The three student teams emerged victorious amidst stiff competition after being shortlisted to the final 17 teams, selected from over 100 submissions nationwide. Imagine Cup has been running for 13 years and is one of the most successful platforms to cultivate entrepreneurial spirit and innovation, creating jobs that will drive Thailand’s economic growth and especially at a time when the country is gearing towards the digital economy.
The announcement was also in conjunction with the findings unveiled following Imagine Cup’s month-long campaign, Dare to Imagine for Thailand (#daretoimagineTH), where over 40 creative ideas for software application development were submitted by Thais from across the country through popular social media platforms. More than 300 social media posts with the hashtag #daretoimagineTH shared creative ideas as well as rallied support for the finalist teams of Imagine Cup Thailand 2015. The most popular themes across the ideas submitted were solutions for traffic congestion, followed by education, and managing finances.
Through Imagine Cup, students are provided with opportunities to pitch their innovative ideas to industry professionals and acquire essential business skills that will bring their products to market. In the 13 years that the Imagine Cup has been running, Thailand has produced three overall global winners – in 2007, 2010 and 2012 – more than any other country. Numerous promising entrepreneurs and social enterprises have emerged from Imagine Cup such as Pichai Sodsai of Team Skeek, global winner of the Software Design Competition in 2010; Suthat Ronglong of Team SuperLove Factory, a world finalist in 2010; and Team DOM, Thailand winner of the Innovation Competition in 2014.
The Imagine Cup teams that emerged victorious this year are:
|Team:||Visionear (King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi)|
|Details:||Designed for the visually-impaired, Visionear is a wearable device that interacts with the user. The mobile application is used to configure the device with the cloud, as well as compute and gather data from social networks, search engines and Wikipedia.|
|Team:||TeamBeta (Mahidol University)|
|Details:||Magical Lands is a puzzle game application where players will travel on a journey to help a witch collect gems which will then be presented to a king as a gift.|
|Team:||CoZpace (King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang)|
|App:||CoZpace: Collaborative web search interface for sharing search records and interactions|
|Details:||CoZpace is a web-based application which allows a group of users to create a collaborative search task. Within the created task, a user can invite and communicate with other members in the group, share search history records, and mark search results considered relevant or irrelevant.|
The winning teams will receive the royal trophy from HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, a cash prize of 100,000 Baht and a chance to compete to win a trip to participate in the World Finals in July 2015. Additionally, the top World Citizenship team addressing one of the USAID themes will receive prizes sponsored by USAID, including a cash prize of 100,000 Baht and a short promotional video advertising their winning software product.
If the Thailand winners are selected to participate in the World Finals, they also stand a chance to meet and receive a mentoring session with Satya Nadella, Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft. The World Finals present opportunities for the students to prepare their respective presentations and skills, along with multiple chances to pitch to Microsoft employees. They will also be one of the few people in the world to experience and develop for the Microsoft HoloLens during a student hackathon. The students will get to experience the future of holographic computing and software development first hand at the World Finals.
Haresh Khoobchandani, Managing Director, Microsoft (Thailand) Limited, said, “At Microsoft, we are committed to empowering youth around the globe to reach their dreams using technology, and our partnerships with ETDA and USAID for Imagine Cup best exemplifies this commitment. Each year we are blown away by the innovative ideas that some of the brightest young minds bring to the competition as well as the intense dedication and hard work from the teams. And as the ASEAN Economic Community approaches end of this year, now’s the time to truly engage Thai youth to actively participate in the Digital Economy and drive innovation through youth entrepreneurship.”
Surangkana Wayuparb, Executive Director and CEO of ETDA, said, “The Digital Economy will drive Thailand’s productivity, enhance the competitiveness of Thai businesses and prepare Thailand for the AEC. To accelerate the Digital Economy in Thailand, we need to create more entrepreneurs, enhance youth employability and drive innovation across all sectors. We are delighted to partner Microsoft for Imagine Cup that provides a platform for Thai youth to demonstrate their innovation and aspiration for Thailand’s Digital Economy. ETDA believes in our youth’s innovation and inspiration to fulfill e-Commerce, enhance acceptable standard, strengthen cybersecurity, and recognize the important role of privacy. This partnership also underscores our mutual commitment to drive youth participation and engagement in the Digital Economy.”
Michael Yates, Director, USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia, said, “The youth of today have the opportunity to transform the world in ways we cannot even yet imagine. Through our partnership with Microsoft on the Imagine Cup, we are delighted to have the opportunity to mentor some of Thailand’s most talented young innovators on regional development challenges, such as clean energy, food security, aquaculture, and business development. We are deeply impressed with the passion, creativity, and dedication of these students, and pleased to be working with Microsoft to help them unleash their potential and make the world a better place.”
More than 1.65 million students from more than 190 countries have participated in Imagine Cup since its inception. The Imagine Cup World Finals will be held from July 27 to July 31, 2015 in Seattle, the home ground of Microsoft.
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