Cross posting from my Imagine Cup Australia blog: 

BIG news for Imagine Cup 2008 - Software Design category entrants in Australia can actually win a job... :D

Readify are arguably Australia's top .NET developer firm. They are also into giving back to the tech community in a BIG way - first came the Readify Developer nights (go along and check one out - they're free!) and now they've come on board as official sponsors of Imagine Cup. Now, we could get Readify to throw some cash at us and buy more prizes for IC, but after discussing it with Readify, we decided we could deliver much more value if we helped IC entrants build skills and get a job.

For those who have just signed up for Imagine Cup, there's 9 ways to enter, but Software Design is always the biggest. In fact, it's so big it is the only category where we have to have local Australian finals to screen entries before the world finals - that means another round of competition that SD category entrants have to go in. Here's the deal - Readify are hiring the first, second and third place teams in the software design category for 2-3 month contracts in their developer centre. That means (A) you get access to some of the expertise of some of the best developers in Australia and (B) give your resume a MASSIVE boost by having Readify's name on it (and who knows, you might even get a fulltime gig if you're good ;D). Many thanks to Readify for this - it's a great opportunity for Imagine CUp entrants. FYI, 2 of the 2004 French Software Design team now work for Readify fulltime, so this is not actually the first time Readify have been involved with Imagine Cup.

 So that makes the final prize pool for the local Software Design category as follows:

1st - Trip to France, 3 months paid work alpcement with Readify, share in $1000 cash

2nd - 2 Months paid work placement with Readify, Xbox 360 for each students team member, share in $500 cash

3rd - 2 months paid  work placement with Readify and a HTC Touch Windows Mobile device valued at AU$699 for each team member

4th and 5th - Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate and Microsoft Office Ultimate for each team member (est. value ~AU$2000)

And then there's the other 9 categories...

By the way, the new 2008 Imagine Cup Australia website will be up very soon - the mockups I've seen look great, so make sure you keep coming back to check out how the entire competition will go down when the site goes live

Oh, and one last thing, there's a launch party for Imagine Cup Australia 2008 coming up this Christmas break - it's going to be a great chance to come, meet other entrants, do some fun activities, find that elusive 2nd/3rd/4th teammate to join up the Software Design or Games Dev competition with, get a free feed (and free drinks, importantly) and just generally get happy. Make sure you're signed up, and make sure your mates are too, otherwise you don't get an invite. Watch this space for more details.