3i, BT, CapGemini support Microsoft Imagine Cup UK Software Design Competition

07 Mar 2005

BT joins 3i, global VC firm, and CapGemini to help put UK students on the podium at the worldwide final of the Imagine Cup Software Design Challenge in Yokohama, Japan plus free copies of Visual Studio and Office now up for grabs!

Reading - UK - 7th March 2005 - Microsoft today announced BT as the sponsor of its third annual Imagine Cup UK Software Design student competition (www.imaginecup.co.uk). The competition will also be supported by 3i plc and Capgemini who will offer additional prizes and support to the UK finalists as they go for the number one slot in the worldwide final in Yokohoma, Japan at the end of July 2005.

The entry date for the Software Design Challenge has also been extended to April 1st and any student registering between now and April 1st is eligible for free membership of theSpoke Premium and a free copy of Microsoft® Visual Studio® .NET 2003 plus the first 10,000 students to submit an actual entry into the global Imagine Cup competition will each receive a free copy of Microsoft® Office 2003 Standard*.

All UK Software Design teams are required to submit a final project overview of their application by May 1st 2005 in advance of the national Software Design Challenge final which will be hosted at the BT Tower in London on June 21st 2005.  At this event the top eight UK Software Design teams will be invited to showcase their applications, their entries will be judged by a panel of academics as well as representatives from Microsoft, BT, 3i and Capgemini and the winning team will be announced which will then go on to represent the UK in the global final at the end of July!

"BT enthusiastically welcomes the opportunity to sponsor the Microsoft Imagine Cup UK Software Design Challenge. In addition to fostering leadership and technical excellence - values that are close to the heart of BT - this competition provides direct support and encouragement to the next generation of technology innovators. We look forward to helping these remarkably talented young people reach their potential," said Al-Noor Ramji, BT Group CIO and CEO BT Exact.

In addition the top five teams from the UK Software Design Challenge final will join a one-day venture capital workshop led by the global VC, 3i at their London offices.  Here students will learn how to transform their winning business concept into a commercially viable solution with real market potential. A 3i VC investor will lend their experience and knowledge to help the young entrepreneurs harness their business acumen effectively and avoid the common pitfalls encountered by start-ups.

3i Senior Associate, Ben Gales said "3i is delighted to be involved in such a prestigious and important student development  competition, which will showcase real entrepreneurial talent and help promote the VC industry and the role of global Venture Capitalists, like 3i, as catalysts in the innovation ecosystem."

Capgemini, one of the world's foremost technology consulting firms, will also be putting its knowledge and expertise behind the UK SDC finalists and in conjunction with BT and 3i will be giving them support to polish their application as they continue on their journey to the global finals in Yokohama, Japan.  

 "Capgemini is proud to be associated with an event that fosters creativity and development excellence. We are delighted to support these young innovators who represent and shape our technological future.  Dynamic business is dependent on bright, educated individuals applying their knowledge in a meaningful and inspired way. This competition nurtures the innovators who will ensure long term business success for the future and therefore Capgemini is delighted to support it," said Mark Porter, CEO UK, Capgemini.

The Imagine Cup is a key part of Microsoft's ongoing commitment to expanding opportunity for students and educators as well as driving innovation within the technology industry. The Imagine Cup competition pits teams of students from across the U.K and the rest of the world against each other to win glory, a share of the $215,000 total prize fund and the chance to kick-start their careers in a wide range of sectors, including software design, film-making, business planning and computer game design. 

Kevin McDaniel, head of the Microsoft Academic Initiative at Microsoft in the UK commented: "We're really pleased to have BT, 3i and Capgemini join the Imagine Cup UK Software Design Challenge and we are all looking forward to seeing a number of UK students on the podium in Yokohama."

The common theme for all entrants to address with their entries this year is "Dissolving the boundaries between us".  The theme has been chosen to enable Imagine Cup entrants to demonstrate just how software and technology innovation can solve real-world problems and indeed it is likely that many of their competition projects will be turned into real-world commercial applications after the competition has ended.

About the Imagine Cup
The Imagine Cup is a worldwide competition for students sponsored by Microsoft Corporation in the US. More details about how to enter the competition can be found on the UK Imagine Cup portal atwww.imaginecup.co.uk/ and additional details can be found on the global Imagine Cup portal at http://imagine.thespokenet/.

*Students who register for the Imagine Cup will be eligible to receive a free copy of Visual Studio .NET 2003 via theSpoke Premium. Plus the first 10,000 students worldwide that submit a competition entry will each receive a free copy of Office 2003 Standard also via theSpoke Premium. These promotions are valid until April 1, 2005, and are subject to Microsoft Corporation's terms and conditions and are governed by US law. Visithttp://www.thespoke.net/imagine/premium_promotion.aspx (US) for further details and for full terms and conditions.
About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realise their full potential.

 

Notes to editors

About the Imagine Cup
The Imagine Cup is a worldwide competition for students sponsored by Microsoft Corporation in the US. More details about how to enter the competition can be found on the UK Imagine Cup portal atwww.imaginecup.co.uk/ and additional details can be found on the global Imagine Cup portal at http://imagine.thespokenet/.

*Students who register for the Imagine Cup will be eligible to receive a free copy of Visual Studio .NET 2003 via theSpoke Premium. Plus the first 10,000 students worldwide that submit a competition entry will each receive a free copy of Office 2003 Standard also via theSpoke Premium. These promotions are valid until April 1, 2005, and are subject to Microsoft Corporation's terms and conditions and are governed by US law. Visithttp://www.thespoke.net/imagine/premium_promotion.aspx (US) for further details and for full terms and conditions.
About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realise their full potential.

About BT
BT is one of the world's leading providers of communications solutions serving customers in Europe, the Americas and Asia Pacific. Its principal activities include IT and networking services, local, national and international telecommunications services, and higher-value broadband and internet products and services. BT consists principally of three lines of business: 
.         BT Retail, providing fixed and mobile communications services and solutions and IT and networking services to more than 20 million business and residential customers in the UK. It is also a leading UK internet services provider.
.         BT Wholesale, providing network services and solutions within the UK to more than 600 fixed and mobile operators and service providers including the provision of broadband, private circuits.
.         BT Global Services, providing IT and networking services internationally to meet the needs of multi-site organisations with European operations. BT Global Services operates in more than 130 countries and also offers international carrier services. 
For more information, visit www.bt.com/about

About 3i
3i is a world leader in private equity and venture capital. We focus on Buyouts, Growth Capital and Venture Capital and invest across Europe, in the United States and in Asia Pacific.  Our competitive advantage comes from our international network and the strength and breadth of our relationships in business. These underpin the value that we deliver to our portfolio and to our shareholders.

In the 6 months to 30 September 2004, 3i invested €760 million, including co-investment funds. 3i's venture capital business invested €108 million in the 6 months to 30 September 2004 in early stage technology companies. 3i's Venture Capital business is focused on early stage technology investing in the Healthcare, Software, Communications and Electronics sectors. For more information visit www.3i.com

About Capgemini 
Capgemini, one of the world's foremost providers of Consulting, Technology and Outsourcing services, has a unique way of working with its clients, which it calls the Collaborative Business Experience. Through commitment to mutual success and the achievement of tangible value, the company helps businesses implement growth strategies, leverage technology, and thrive through the power of collaboration. Capgemini employs approximately 60,000 people and reported 2004 global revenues of 6,291 billion euros. For more information visit www.capgemini.com.