Wollongong team to compete in Imagine Cup final
UAE university team to represent Arab world in finals of Microsoft Imagine Cup
A team from the UAE's University of Wollongong will be representing the Arab world in the final of Microsoft's Imagine Cup 2015.
The team Freedom Fragrance emerged winners in the World Citizenship category at the Imagine Cup Pan Arab semi finals in June that brought together all 36 first-prize winners of national rounds from 13 countries across the Middle East and North Africa.
The finals take place in in Seattle, Washington from 27th-31st July, with teams from 33 countries around the world participating.
The Wollongong team of Heba Nayef, Artaza Aziz and Jawad Jandali Refai, created ‘LAMAPP', a mobile app that allows members of the community to anonymously report any form of abuse through video and audio recordings.
Michael Mansour, Head of Apps and Innovation, Microsoft Gulf commented: "This is an incredible opportunity for the team from UAE to compete side by side with other teams from around the world and also to learn from their experiences. We know that today students and startups are looking for every possible opportunity to be successful in the face of numerous challenges, and its Microsoft's goal and aspiration to give them the best possible tools to enable them to succeed. Microsoft Imagine Cup echoes our commitment to create social and economic opportunities through programs and products that can transform education, foster local innovation, drive future prosperity and enable jobs and opportunities within UAE and worldwide."
Heba Mahmoud Nayef, team member of Freedom Fragrance said: "We are very excited to be representing the UAE and the entire Arab World at the Imagine Cup World Finals. For me, it is an example of how a simple dream can be turned into a tangible solution that touches the lives of people in so many ways. When we started the LAMAPP project, almost no one believed that we could make it, but thanks to Microsoft and their guidance throughout the competition, we have not only emerged winners but also developed a tool that can help to scale down incidences of abuse around the world. I hope that our participation at the Imagine Cup World Finals will inspire other students to believe in themselves, take responsibility of changing the world and pursue their dreams."
"At UOWD we strive to instill in our students the values of innovation and entrepreneurship to enable them easily cope with the social economic changes happening around the world. We provide them with an environment to enhance their creativity through team work and access to incubation programs that help them see the world beyond their university campus. I would like to thank Microsoft for introducing to our students the Imagine Cup challenge and the Microsoft Student Partner (MSP) program which continue to empower our students with the much needed technology tools and knowledge to pursue their career goals," said Dr Farhad Oroumchian, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences at UOWD and team Freedom Fragrance's mentor.
The team will present an updated prototype at the finals of the competition, in Seattle, where they stand to win $50,000 (Dh183,647) and meet Satya Nadella, the chief executive of Microsoft.
As part of Microsoft YouthSpark initiative, Imagine Cup empowers students to use their creativity to solve the world's toughest problems through technology as well as provides the opportunity to develop an idea, create a product, and set a clear business plan that will take their product to market. Students can compete in the World Citizenship, Innovation and Games Competitions or Challenges that are mapped to the Software Development Lifecycle leading up to the World Finals, which prepare students to have a well-rounded project by competing in Pitch Video Challenge, Project Blueprint Challenge and User Experience Challenge.
The competition is currently in its 13th year globally and has grown to become the world's global student technology competition with more than 1.65 million students from more than 190 countries having participated in the Microsoft Imagine Cup annual competition from inception.
5 finalists were selected from the 17 projects submitted at the start of this year's UAE Imagine Cup challenge from students across 7 universities in UAE. The three category winners from UAE, Team Freedom Fragrance (LAMAPP), Team YMAM from Ajman University of Science and Technology (Nanny Robot) and Khalid Al Awar from Khalifah University (Cayram) went on to take part in the Pan Arab Semi-Finals.