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So we are finally on the verge of launching the BIG Awards after months of hard work by the BIG team and partners. Powered by Cisco i-Prize, this competition will be crucial to discovering and nurturing technology-based startup businesses in the UK.

When creating the BIG Awards, we wanted the competition to be as open as possible. Wherever technical talent is in the UK – universities, science parks, business centres and other innovation clusters – we want to root it out and offer support.

The launch of this initiative on 1 February was at Ravensbourne in Greenwich. It’s an apt venue as it’s a founding member of Cisco’s National Virtual incubator (NVI) – a public technology network which will be connecting innovation clusters by using Cisco’s collaboration technology.

Cisco’s Global CTO, Padmasree Warrior, gave a keynote address about the importance of innovation and her perspectives on some global mega-trends that relate to the competition categories, including Big Data, Internet of Things and Future Cities. The audience was also treated to some entertaining, fast-paced and insightful pecha kuchas (presentations of 20 slides in 6 minutes).

Among the partners and customers supporting the BIG Awards are PR firm Octopus Communications, marketing agency DNX, city legal firm Bird & Bird and investment bankers JP Morgan Chase. They’re all of contributing to the prize pot in different ways with expertise, mentoring and direct funding.

Get involved in the BIG Competition

Open to individuals, teams and legal entities in the UK, applicants can enter their technology concept or prototype idea into one of five categories. These represent some of the most relevant technology challenges and mega-trends in the world today.

Entries in each of the following categories need to show how they benefit the public and private sectors and utilise the Network or Cloud as a platform to deliver economic, social and environmental sustainability:

The competition will be in four stages:

Could your idea be the next BIG thing?

You can now register and submit your initial ideas until 31 March 2012.

For more information on each category and competition entry requirements, visit the BIG Awards website.

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