Get Started

Unlock your startup's potential with the Imagine Cup -- the global technology startup competition for visionary student entrepreneurs harnessing the power of Microsoft AI.

What do I need to know?

Here is a quick summary of what you need to participate in the Imagine Cup:

  • Global competition for students aged 18+.
  • You’re welcome to imagine any solution that you’re passionate about, but must include a Microsoft Azure component and take into consideration diversity, inclusion, and accessibility.
  • Maximum four (4) members per team.
  • To join Discord or for more information on the Imagine Cup competition, please visit your account page.

What can you win?

Imagine Cup teams can win mentorship, networking opportunities, free travel, cash, and other great prizes!

  • Teams that win their National Final or Regional Online Semifinals win travel to the Regional Final (Asia, EMEA, and the Americas) in Singapore, Amsterdam, and Mexico City, respectively
  • The top two teams from each Regional Final win USD8,000 cash, Azure credits, a trip to Seattle, and a spot in the World Championship
  • The three runner-up teams from each Regional Final win USD2,500 cash and Azure credits
  • The 2020 Imagine Cup World Champion team wins USD100,000 cash, USD50,000 Azure credits, and a mentoring session with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Official Rules

2024 Imagine Cup Rules & Regulations

Contact us for more help

Getting Started

Visit the Imagine Cup page and click 'Register Now' to sign up! You can unregister from your subscribed competitions by visiting the unregister page.

The Imagine Cup is open to students 18 and older from around the world. If you are a student at a university, community college, vocational or trade school, you are eligible to participate in Microsoft Imagine Cup, please see the rules and regulations for country eligibility.

All projects must leverage Microsoft technologies using AI.

• You can get started with the Imagine Cup Cloud Skills Challenge to learn skills essential to Imagine Cup including AI, technical and entrepreneurial learning modules.
• Once your proof of concept has been submitted and approved, you will receive access to Founders Hub, giving you access to many benefits to help you further build your startup, including USD1,000 in Azure credits and USD2,500 in Open AI credits.
• You can also visit Microsoft Learn and try out free Azure learning paths to build your knowledge. You can also explore the Imagine Cup GitHub.
• If you are unable to get access to Founders Hub, you can claim USD100 in Azure credit and 25+ services FREE Get Azure for Students.

Head over to your Imagine Cup Account page for all your details, check your status and manage your team!

Students with startup ideas must be in a team. Each team will be progressing their business throughout the competition, submitting a proof of concept for your original idea, developing a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) and submitting a business plan and pitch. Imagine Cup teams are made of one to four eligible students. You can create a team from your Account page. If a friend creates a team, they can invite you and a notification will show up in your account.

You can submit and check the status of your entry for any of our contests from your Account page.

Access the student-focused trainings for the Imagine Cup by clicking here to navigate to the content on GitHub.

Deadlines for each round are set out with the rules and regulations.

Student entrepreneurs building with AI aged 18 and over.

We encourage all students who are interested in creating a startup using AI to apply. You can leverage the Discord server, which you can join from your Account Page, to find teammates are also focused on creating their own business and bringing their AI solution to market.

If you have previously competed in an Imagine Cup event as a World Finalist or Regional Finalist, you are eligible to enter, but any entry submitted must be substantially new, unique, and different from anything you’ve brought to the Imagine Cup before.

Each competitor may only belong to one team within the competition. You may only submit one entry per round. Beginning with Qualifying round, if you make multiple submissions, we will use the last one you submitted as your official entry.

You can take part in Imagine Cup if you/your business has not received external funding more than USD50k. For full eligibility criteria please check the rules and regulations.


You will be notified of progression via the email address used to register your team with the competition.

Feedback & Support

Teams can consist of members from multiple countries/regions and/or universities, but the team can only represent one country/region in the competition. For more information, review the rules and regulations.

We look at residency, not citizenship. If you are resident of an eligible country/region, you can compete representing that country/region even if your citizenship is elsewhere. For more information, review the rules and regulations.

To access your winner's certificate, visit your account profile editor. It will be listed under the Achievements section.

To add your award to your LinkedIn profile, download these instructions.


You’ll gain benefits throughout each stage of the competition, including Azure and OpenAI credits. The top three teams will present their startups on the global stage during Microsoft Build. The winning team will earn USD100k and a mentoring session with Microsoft Chairman and CEO, Satya Nadella. The two runner-up teams will each be awarded USD50k.


You can find the Microsoft Imagine Cup privacy & cookie policy here.

To learn more, please check out the Microsoft Imagine Cup policy on privacy & cookies.