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February 3, 2012

Cisco leveraging Olympics for new tech incubator

Cisco is looking to expand the UK’s tech education following the Olympics, with 25 new networking academies and a new innovation incubator in partnership with the Government.

By Vinod

Cisco has been working with local high schools, colleges and even prisons to develop 25 new networking academies that will produce graduates with the qualities the industry needs, Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior told journalists at its Cisco Live! Conference in London.

This will include 6 academies outside of London’s ‘tech city’, around the UK. While the project is not a government sponsored, partnered or subsidised initiative, the company will be looking at expanding beyond its academy program in the future, Warrior said.

The company is a key sponsor of the 2012 Olympics, providing the network infrastructure. As part of the company’s Olympic obligations it will be leaving behind 20% of its infrastructure, much of which will be incorporated into education and innovation.

It is also developing a national incubation centre initiative called the British Innovation Gateway (BIG) in partnership with the Government. In a recent meeting between Prime Minister David Cameron and Cisco CEO John Chambers, Cisco pledged $500m to help foster an environment of entrepreneurship within the UK.

"I welcome this major statement of support from Cisco. This will help create many new jobs and opportunities, and support our drive to diversify our economy and generate sustainable economic growth," said Cameron.

"We want to bring together the energy and innovation of Shoreditch and the incredible potential of the Olympic Park to help make East London one of the world’s great technology centres. Today this ambition is gathering pace. Cisco’s goal is a fantastic example of how business is turning this vision into reality, with East London set to become a leading Tech City."

The BIG Initiative utilises the technology Cisco is contributing to the Games to create two networked innovation centres that will showcase technology and transform local businesses and communities.

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"[This] national incubator will drive innovation in the UK, and produce a dramatic transformation over the next few years," said Warrior.

The first will open in Shoreditch in partnership with the local SME community, the other will be a ‘state-of-the-art connected community’ based at Olympic park and focusing on developing and demonstrating new technology

Cisco claims these new incubators will help develop the UK’s ‘innovation ecosystem’, allowing entrepreneurs easy access to new technology as it launches. As part of its BIG awards, entrepreneurs will be offered mentoring, training and access to Cisco’s in-house expertise






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