Microsoft announces Blueprint challenge winners, hands out cash

Microsoft’s 2014 Imagine Cup competition is in full swing and the company has recently announced the winners of the Blueprint challenge. The challenge, as a quick refresher, is for teams to create viable businesses that are reviewed by a panel of judges who will select the winning business plans and then award them $3000 to help spur the idea from concept into reality.

The competition was new this year and that means that the creative limits had no bounds.  The challenge was broken up into three categories; World Citizenship, Games, and Innovation. Each category came with a $3000 prize for first place that results in $9000 being handed out to the winners of this completion.

In the Citizenship category, team Life Up took the top prize for a Kinect-based game that helps autistic children learn math, motor and social skills. The project is currently being prototyped and is in the process of being refined through field trials.

In the Innovation category, YouBeRu is a way of collecting real-time data on runners in marathons,Imagine Cup helps the students and community. triathlons and really, any competitive sports that can provide new insights for professionals and sports fans. In the games category, team Liason took the top prize for a classic adventure/puzzle based game; the main characters are a boy and a dog that each has defined characteristics that help them solve puzzles. Both of these projects are in the late planning stages and quickly moving towards the deployment stage of tangible products.

The three teams will take their cash and likely put it towards developing their business plans. The interesting part, unlike other aspects of the Imagine Cup challenge, is that it is based on the writing of a business model and not putting code to work. Because of this, it opens the doors to many more applicants to the competition.

Microsoft’s Imagine Cup competition is about getting students involved in building applications and services that impact the community. To help push students towards creating these types of products Microsoft offers up tons of resources and mentoring to help participants take concepts and turn them into products. Of course, they also give out cold hard cash too but the bigger picture and future impact of these projects goes well beyond any amount of monetary award.

Image Credit: Microsoft

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