More than 1,000 young innovators in Vietnam participated in the local segment of the Imagine Cup 2013 competition, with a team of four students from the VNU University of Engineering and Technology (VNU-UET) clinching the title of this year’s national champions.
One of only six project submissions that made it to the final round of the local competition, eventual winner, Team Bluetooth, developed a game app called ‘Green Haven Game’ that promotes environmental values and encourages different sustainable initiatives. The app was built on Microsoft’s XNA® platform.
Through its engaging play, the Green Haven Game takes the app user through several key stages of sustainability, such as waste sorting, waste reduction and material conservation, material reuse and recycling. To advance its commercial viability, the game app developed by Team Bluetooth runs on a variety of Windows® and Xbox® based operating systems.
Microsoft Vietnam presented Team Bluetooth with their championship title at an awards ceremony held in Hanoi on 18 April. By coming up tops in the local competition, the VNU-UET students will represent Vietnam in the upcoming Imagine Cup 2013 Worldwide Finals, which will take place in July in Russia.
Nguyen Francis Tuan Anh, Developer and Platform Evangelism (DPE) Lead at Microsoft Vietnam, said, “Since the first local competition was held in Vietnam in 2004, the Imagine Cup has seen increased participation from young innovators across the country. Imagine Cup is only the beginning of a long journey for these aspiring tech entrepreneurs, and we hope the competition has provided them with useful insights into how they can leverage the latest technology to create a positive impact on their local communities.”
For more information, please visit www.imaginecup.com
“We hope that the Imagine Cup competition has provided aspiring tech entrepreneurs with useful insights into how they can leverage the latest technology to create a positive impact on their local communities.”
- Nguyen Francis Tuan Anh, DPE Lead, Microsoft Vietnam
On 19 April, Microsoft partnered with the ASEAN Foundation and the Thailand Research Centre of Communications and Development Knowledge Management (CCDKM) to jointly launch a training programme aimed at enhancing the information and communication technology (ICT) skills of new business startups and young entrepreneurs in the Southeast Asia region.
Part of Microsoft’s global YouthSpark initiative, the new ‘Enhancing ICT Skills of Small Medium Enterprises in ASEAN’ programme will provide aspiring entrepreneurs aged between 16 and 25 with improved access to technology to empower them to start their own business or create their own opportunities. A grant amounting to USD300,000 has been reserved to support the needs and provide training resources for the entrepreneurs taking part in this programme — with the ultimate goal of addressing unemployment rates among youth in Southeast Asia.
The pilot phase of the programme, which would span a period of 24 months, is expected to reach more than 20,000 people and close to 1,000 businesses in Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam.
In Thailand, the training programme will be conducted by ASEAN Foundation and the CCDKM in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, where the development and delivery of the curriculum is tailored to empower young entrepreneurs with technology skills to grow and sustain their ventures.
“Since its establishment in Thailand 20 years ago, Microsoft has been committed to developing and improving lives through technology. The implementation of this project allows us to take the next step in closing the opportunity gap by providing young people with the access, skills and opportunities to be successful entrepreneurs,” said Siriporn Pajharawat, Developer and Platform Strategy Director of Microsoft Thailand.
The young entrepreneurs that display the most potential, as nominated by the CCDKM, will be selected for an e-Business Incubation Programme, through which they will receive further mentorship and assistance. The top-performing entrepreneurs also have the chance to showcase their projects in Indonesia at the end of the programme.
Ajie Akhmad Wahidin, Senior Programme Officer of the ASEAN Foundation, said, “We recognise the significance of technology and ICT skills to addressing unemployment rates among young people in the region. Through this partnership with Microsoft and CCDKM, the ASEAN Foundation will be able to extend the reach of the programme and provide young entrepreneurs across the region with the basic skills training they need.”
“This project allows us to provide young people with the access, skills and opportunities to be successful entrepreneurs.”
Siriporn Pajharawat, Developer and Platform Strategy Director, Microsoft Thailand
TechSoup Asia announced its highly anticipated expansion into Indonesia through a partnership with PT Microsoft Indonesia. TechSoup Asia is part of the TechSoup Global Network, which partners with corporate donors to provide technology product donations to NGOs and nonprofit organizations in over 50 countries. Qualified charitable organizations have access to a wide range of donated and discounted technology products, including operating system software, productivity software such as Microsoft Office, publishing software and server products.
The launch was announced in Jakarta at the NGO Connection Day 2013, co-organized by Microsoft Indonesia and the ASEAN Foundation. This year’s theme was “Utilizing Technology for Improving Social and Economic Development.” In the era of globalization, technology is required to assist communities to better improve their well-being. This event provides a platform through which nonprofit organizations (NGOs) share and learn from one another about the latest in technology and innovation.
With the launch of TechSoup Asia, NGOs in Indonesia now have access to Microsoft products and other technology donations that will help build their IT infrastructure and enhance their ability to achieve their missions.
“We are really excited to be partnering with Microsoft to launch TechSoup Asia in Indonesia. We will be bringing to life a nonprofit collaborative venture that will deliver technology and other capacity-building donations to the NGO and charity sector in Indonesia in a more streamlined way than ever before,” said Mike Yeaton, Vice President of TechSoup Asia.
“It’s not just about the donations though, TechSoup Asia will also provide online resources to support effective use of everything from routers and social media to face-to-face collaboration around using technology to address social challenges. We look forward to this partnership with Microsoft and serving the needs of NGOs in Indonesia,” added Yeaton.
Andreas Diantoro, President Director of Microsoft Indonesia, said that Microsoft is focused on capacity building for the nonprofit sector as part of the company’s Corporate Citizenship work, and TechSoup Asia is a strategic partner in delivering that programme around the world. The nonprofit sector is contributing to social and economic development in Indonesia, delivering crucial social services and programmes essential to improving the lives and livelihoods of Indonesians.
“In 2012, Microsoft donated over US$800 million worth of software globally to over 60,000 nonprofits. In Indonesia alone, $6 million worth of software has been donated since 2000 to more than 150 NGOs. We want to help many more, and the partnership with TechSoup is designed to make the programme more relevant and accessible to a larger number of nonprofits, which will in turn have a positive impact in the local community. We are very excited to see the launch of TechSoup Asia in Indonesia,” said Andreas.
NGOs will invest an administrative fee to cover the costs of the programme, which is a small percentage of the estimated retail price. The fee is charged by TechSoup Asia as part of their social enterprise model to remain sustainable; it is not a fee charged by or returned to Microsoft. NGOs will have direct access to a wide array of technology planning resources through TechSoup Asia that provides specific guidance for best choosing, implementing and using the Microsoft product donations.
A team of four University of Auckland students emerged victorious in the 2013 New Zealand Finals of the Imagine Cup competition held on 24-25 March. A total of 549 student teams submitted proposals to the New Zealand leg of this year’s Imagine Cup competition, representing a 30 percent increase in submissions year-on-year.
The winning Team InfinityTek impressed the judges with UVsense, their innovative project that combines ultraviolet-light detecting hardware with a Windows Phone app to monitor an individual’s UV exposure. The wristband sensor measures the amount of UV radiation a person has been exposed to and conveys this information through a smartphone app.
Ming Cheuk, a member of Team InfinityTek, said, “We went in search of a problem that was widespread and affected us personally, and also one that we could solve with current technologies. We truly believe that our system will change behaviours and attitudes towards skin cancer prevention. Through the Imagine Cup, we were given the opportunity to develop skills outside of our regular studies. We wouldn’t have been able to achieve this without the support of our mentors, Microsoft and our family and friends.”
The winning proposal was selected by a panel of 27 judges that included technical academics, industry leaders, technology media and senior executives from Microsoft New Zealand. Following their victory, Team InfinityTek will be representing New Zealand in the Imagine Cup 2013 Worldwide Finals in July in Russia.
Candace Kinser, CEO of the New Zealand Information and Communications Technology Group and one of the judges on the panel, said, “The UVsense project highlighted the imagination and technical skills of Team InfinityTek, as they have a well thought-out concept and a well-developed prototype. Skin cancer resulting from over-exposure to the sun is a worldwide issue, and this team has created a novel way to help people of all ages manage their exposure easily and effectively.”
Since its beginning in 2003, the Imagine Cup — the premier student technology competition — has brought together more than 1.65 million young innovators from 190 countries to help resolve some of the world’s toughest challenges through the development of technologies. New Zealand has a strong track record in the global competition, with teams from the country having performed well in the Worldwide Finals over the past three years.
“Through the Imagine Cup, we were given the opportunity to develop skills outside of our regular studies.”
- Ming Cheuk, Team Member, Team InfinityTek
Microsoft has broadened their partnership with TechSoup to facilitate software donation for non-governmental organisations (NGOs), extending the TechSoup Asia partner network to Indonesia and Vietnam. Nonprofits in these two countries can now gain easier access to Microsoft products and other technology that will help them build their information technology (IT) infrastructure and enhance their ability to achieve their mission.
Under the software donation scheme, qualified NGOs are able to acquire a wide range of donated and discounted technology products at a nominal administrative fee, which is only a small percentage of the estimated retail price. NGOs will also receive specific guidance for choosing, implementing and utilising the Microsoft product donations.
“We are delighted to be partnering with Microsoft to launch TechSoup Asia in Indonesia and Vietnam. With this launch, we will be bringing to life a nonprofit collaborative venture that will deliver technology and other capacity-building donations to the NGO and charity sector in these two countries in a more streamlined way than ever before — providing NGOs with the necessary resources to address social challenges,” said Mike Yeaton, Vice President of TechSoup Asia.
The Indonesia launch took place on 15 May at NGO Connection Day 2013, co-organised by Microsoft Indonesia and the ASEAN Foundation in Jakarta. As a strategic partner, Microsoft will be supporting TechSoup Asia in delivering services and programmes that contribute to social and economic developments in Indonesia.
Andreas Diantoro, President Director of Microsoft Indonesia, said, “We are very excited to see the launch of TechSoup Asia in Indonesia. Since 2000, Microsoft has donated $6 million worth of software to more than 150 NGOs in the country. The partnership with TechSoup will enable us to help many more, and the TechSoup Asia launch is designed to make the programme more relevant and accessible to a larger number of nonprofits.”
The TechSoup Asia programme was also the highlight at the second NGO Connection Day in Vietnam, held in Hanoi on 29 May. More than 100 NGO representatives attended the event to discuss the use of technology and Microsoft’s role in providing NGOs with improved access to technology resources.
“The challenges faced by NGOs in Vietnam are similar to others around the world. While this sector in Vietnam is still nascent and requires a lot of support from the public and private sectors, the NGOs here are being asked to improve productivity but reducing their costs. Our technology support helps them deliver more efficient services to the communities they serve. Through this support, Microsoft aims to make a positive contribution and improve the lives in the communities in which we work,” said Clair Deevy, Citizenship Lead of Microsoft Asia Pacific, during the event.
For more information, please visit www.techsoup.asia
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