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Cisco Launches BIG Awards to Celebrate and Reward Innovative Start-ups and SMEs Within the UK

by david.nunes

Cisco Launches BIG Awards to Celebrate and Reward Innovative Start-ups and SMEs Within the UK

Awards form the next landmark event of Cisco’s BIG initiative; Cisco’s CTO, Padmasree Warrior, launched competition on 1 February

London 2 February 2012 – In its quest to discover and help develop emerging and early stage technology based start-ups, Cisco has launched the next stage in its British Innovation Gateway (BIG) initiative – The Big Awards – Powered By Cisco I-PRIZE™.

With support from JP Morgan and other partners, the BIG Awards will take the form of an annual open innovation competition to discover and reward the finest examples of the UK’s most innovative start-up digital businesses and SMEs. The overall winner will receive a total prize package of approximately $200k, made up of $100k cash, 12 months of mentoring from Cisco and a 12- month support package covering PR, marketing and legal services.

Runners-up and semi-finalists will also receive cash and technology prizes to support and accelerate the development of their brands and businesses.

The BIG Awards is the latest development in Cisco’s British Innovation Gateway (BIG) initiative, a significant five-year investment of cash, technology and human resources, which aims to develop Britain’s innovation eco-system and create an environment in which start-up digital businesses and their ideas can flourish.  The Awards are held in partnership with JP Morgan, Bird & Bird, DNX and Octopus Communications and will take place annually throughout the five year duration to help create a community of innovative industry leaders.

The competition will run from 1 February 2012 until September 2012 and involves a four stage judging process.  The final of the Awards will take place at a special event on 12 September 2012, where the six finalists will present their business plans live to a judging panel before the winner is chosen.

Open to individuals, groups of individuals and legal entities in the UK, applicants can enter their technology concept or prototype idea into one of five categories which represent some of the most relevant technology challenges and mega trends we are seeing across the globe today.  For each category, the entry should showcase how the concept can benefit the public and private sector, utilising the network as the platform to deliver economic, social and environmental sustainability.

The categories are:

  • BIG Data inc. Datacentre/Virtualisation
  • Collaboration inc. Video and Social Media
  • Future Cities
  • Internet of Things
  • Mobility

For more information on each category and competition entry requirements, visit the BIG Awards website at www.thebigawards.co.uk. Registration is now open and entrants will be able to submit their initialbusiness or technology ideas from 1 February 2012. Entries will close on the 31 March 2012.

A public event to launch the Awards took place at Ravensbourne in Greenwich, London, on 1 February 2012. Ravensbourne is a founding member of Cisco’s National Virtual incubator (NVI) – a sustainable public technology network which promises to stimulate entrepreneurship by connecting physical sites through IT infrastructure. Cisco’s CTO, Padmasree Warrior, was in attendance and delivered a keynote address about the importance of innovation.

Supporting Quotes

  • Phil Smith, CEO, Cisco UK and Ireland, said: “The BIG Awards are a key component of our British Innovation Gateway initiative to encourage UK growth through entrepreneurship and the advancement of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) skills. There are many high potential technology based start-ups and SMEs within the UK and the BIG Awards provide a great opportunity to showcase, celebrate and reward them. This is a fantastic opportunity for businesses to get the help and support they need. By nurturing the growing businesses of tomorrow, we are helping to build a brilliant future for technology innovation in the UK.”
  • Guy Chiarello, CIO, JP Morgan Chase said “At JPMorgan Chase we focus on creating a culture of innovation and we are very proud of our heritage of breathing life into new technology companies by consuming their products and services in real life scenarios. This programme extends that mission with an opportunity to help guide, coach and invest in technology companies and ideas of the future. We are looking forward to the partnership this programme will bring.”

About the British Innovation Gateway (BIG)
Cisco’s main focus as the Official Network Infrastructure supporter to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games is to create programs that will have a long term contribution to the growth of Hi Tech industries and the economic health of the UK.  The British Innovation Gateway (BIG) initiative is part of that economic legacy and is a framework of programs that is designed to help drive innovation and support technology start-ups across London and the rest of the UK and Ireland.

Launched in January 2011 by Prime Minister David Cameron and Cisco’s chairman and CEO, John Chambers, BIG is underpinned by Cisco’s significant five-year investment of cash, technology and human resources. The initiative aims to develop Britain’s innovation eco-system and create an environment in which start-up digital businesses and their ideas can flourish.

Cisco’s long-term vision is to help build a brilliant future for Britain. BIG will discover and develop the entrepreneurs of today, helping to establish Britain as a leader in innovation, whilst Cisco’s other Olympic Legacy programs such as key educational initiatives like STEMNet and the extension of Cisco’s Network Academy® programs in East London, will help to uncover the skills of tomorrow. Information about BIG can be found at http://ciscobig.co.uk.

About Cisco

Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate. Information about Cisco can be found at http://www.cisco.com. For ongoing news, please go to http://newsroom.cisco.com. Cisco equipment in Europe is provided by Cisco Systems International B.V. and Cisco International Limited, wholly owned subsidiaries of Cisco Systems, Inc.

About Ravensbourne

Ravensbourne is a world-class digital destination located at Greenwich Peninsula developing talented individuals and leading-edge businesses through learning, skills, applied research, enterprise and innovation.  Ravensbourne’s new building, in Penrose Way next to The O2, opened to students at the end of October 2010 following a £70 million investment including £3.5 million from the London Development Agency (LDA), £5.5 million from the Department for Communities and Local Government and further investment from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), Greenwich Council, Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the Skills Funding Agency. The European Development Fund also provided £1.5 million to create low carbon incubator space, incorporating new technologies and a suite of environmentally sustainable features. Ravensbourne had been based in Chislehurst in Bromley since 1976.

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