Imagine Cup Grants – supporting social innovation by young entrepreneurs

Today at the Social Innovation Summit students from Germany, Australia, Egypt, Uganda and Ukraine are taking the next step in bringing their smart ideas for addressing real social issues to market. They are winners of the second annual Imagine Cup Grants, a three-year, $3 million competitive grant program that is part of our YouthSpark initiative and provides funding and support to help them transform their technology project into a business or social enterprise.

So what problems are this year’s winners solving?

  • Team Graphmasters from Germany have created an innovative traffic navigation system called nunav which reduces vehicle carbon emissions by intelligently routing vehicles based on traffic and weather conditions, reducing congestion and fuel costs and addressing traffic jams. Team video:


  • Australian Team StethoCloud have developed a mobile-hybrid stethoscope using Windows Phone that detects childhood pneumonia at early stages. The user is able to transmit diagnostic information into a cloud service, reproducing the diagnostic capability of a trained medical doctor. Team video:


  • Team Vivid hails from Egypt and has created a mobile app that helps healthcare providers access patient electronic medical records through a secure cloud-based storage system. Team video:


  • From Uganda Team Cipher256 has built a mobile application that aids health workers as they assist expectant mothers. The algorithm analyses fetal heart sounds to determine the fetal heart rate (beats per minute) and the age and position of the fetus and then records these readings to the cloud. Team video:


  • Team QuadSquad from Ukraine has produced Enable Talk which gives people with hearing difficulties a better way to communicate by transforming sign language into a form of verbal communication by creating a mobile device that continuously recognizes sign language phonemes. Team video:



    All the grant winners were finalists in this year’s Imagine Cup, the world’s most prestigious student technology competition which brings together student innovators from all over the world. The Imagine Cup Grants program helps the winning students turn their ideas into reality by creating a business or social enterprise.

    Christian Brüggemann from Team Graphmasters explains how the Imagine Cup and the grants program work together:

    “The Imagine Cup was the catalyst for our team to create nunav…  (The Imagine Cup Grants) give us the opportunity to expand our project and bring it to market. As mobile phone adoption becomes more prevalent around the world, it presents a perfect way for nunav to help fight traffic and carbon emissions.”

    In addition to the cash awards totaling $325,000, the grant packages include software, cloud computing services, solution provider support, premium Microsoft BizSpark account benefits and access to local resources such as Microsoft Innovation Centers. We will also connect grant recipients with our network of investors, nongovernmental organization partners and business partners and will work with the grant recipients to tailor individual support as needed depending on the progress each team has made so far with its project.

    The grants winners battled against 40 other Imagine Cup teams who applied for the grants. They were chosen by a judging panel of industry experts with knowledge spanning technology, venture capitalism, software development, startup culture and the nonprofit sector ranked each team based on specific criteria, including project impact and viability and team quality and motivation. The judges included:


    You can follow the Social Innovation Summit on Twitter at #SIS12.

    Read more about the winning teams here.




    Team Graphmasters nunav applications (Screenshot courtesy of Team Graphmasters)


    More information and resources on Microsoft YouthSpark and Imagine Cup:

    The Imagine Cup Grants are part of Microsoft YouthSpark, a global initiative that aims to create opportunities for 300 million youth in more than 100 countries during the next three years. This companywide initiative includes Citizenship and other company programs — both new and enhanced — that empower youth to imagine and realize their full potential by connecting them with greater opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship. Find out more at:

    This year marks the 11th year of Imagine Cup, which will be celebrated at the worldwide finals in St. Petersburg, Russia, July 8–12, 2013. Students ages 16 and older are eligible to register and compete in Imagine Cup 2013 by visiting the Imagine Cup website at A full list of competitions and challenges are listed at In the past decade, more than 1.65 million students from 190 countries have registered to compete for cash and other prizes.

    You can read about last year’s grant recipients here.

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