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By NBF News
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By Emeka Aginam
As part of the preparation for the regional finals slated for next month in River States, the software giant, Microsoft in partnership with the Rivers State Government recently held a ceremony at the State House of Assembly auditorium in Port Harcourt to mark the official kick-off of the Imagine Cup student technology competition in Nigeria.

Running in its tenth year, the Imagine Cup has grown to become the world's premier student software technology competition with more than 358,000 students from 183 countries participating in last year's event.

However, the competition urges students to come up with imaginative solutions to use technology to help solve some of the world's toughest problems.

Meanwhile, the GM, Public Sector, Microsoft Middle East and Africa, Elias Tabet while reacting to the innovative products of the technology incubators said that , 'We are excited to see the projects and ideas that come out of this year's regional and national competitions - last year's national winners, Team Nerds, were an inspiration and showed what kind of potential and talent we have in the country's youth. We hope to see record entries this year .'

Speaking on the partnership, Goodlife Nmekini, Special Adviser to Rivers State Governor informed that the decision of the Rivers State Government to support the Imagine Cup competition stems from its current effort to make Port Harcourt the technology hub of the country.

This year, for the first time, two rounds of regional finals will be held in Nigeria instead of just one ahead of the national finals in Port Harcourt on the 25th of April 2012, to accommodate the anticipated number of entries.

The worldwide finals, previously hosted in Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Korea, France, Egypt, Poland, and the USA; will be hosted in Sydney, Australia in July this year.