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Cisco Supports Tech Entrepreneurs in Jordan

It is Sunday night in Amman, Jordan, and the Jordanian startup scene keeps moving full steam ahead at an event called Dealmakers Weekend, organized by Endeavor, a nonprofit that supports high-impact entrepreneurship and Int@j, a nonprofit representing the Jordan IT industry. The cream of the local startup crop were paired up all day in matchmaking sessions with local and international investors in hopes of creating lasting relationships.

One of the startups, Mixed Dimensions (MXD), is representative of the new breed of company emerging from the local ecosystem. Founded in 2009, MXD is a technology and tools provider for platform developers, gaming companies and interactive 3D online application developers. Its co-founders, Muhannad Taslaq and Baha Abu Nojaim, are examples of the diverse entrepreneurs Jordan is producing. Born and bred in Jordan and of Palestinian origin, they are graduates of Jordanian universities and active participants in promoting grassroots technology entrepreneurship in Jordan.

Unlike many startups in Jordan and the region overall, MXD’s vision extends far beyond its home country’s borders. Having begun its journey at the iPARK, an ICT incubator in Amman, MXD was from day one building technology targeted at a global audience. Its flagship product, a 3D asset development tool called GameDraw built for the Unity gaming engine, is used by over 16,000 game developers in 110 countries (as of January 2014). The company has expanded its global footprint, completing the Alchemist Accelerator program in Silicon Valley in August 2013 and venturing into new technology niches within 3D modeling and development.

MXD will become one of the first portfolio companies of the Badia Impact Fund, which announced its first close February 24 with Cisco (as part of our 2011 Venture Capital Commitment to Jordan), European Investment Bank, and King Abdullah Fund for Development.

GameDraw is the flagship product of Jordan start-up Mixed Dimensions. It is a 3D asset development tool built for the Unity gaming engine that is currently used by over 16,000 game developers in 110 countries .

GameDraw is the flagship product of Jordan start-up Mixed Dimensions. It is a 3D asset development tool built for the Unity gaming engine that is currently used by over 16,000 game developers in 110 countries .

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Networking Academy Students Get Hands-On Experience at Cisco Live in Italy

February 24, 2014 at 5:00 am PST

Cisco Live, our annual training, networking, and education conferences, offer attendees a combination of in-depth technical education and insight from experts and organizations that are setting the agenda for the future of technology and business.

This year at Cisco Live in Milan, Italy, it was also an opportunity for 10 Cisco Networking Academy students to get hands-on experience supporting Cisco Live staff who were maintaining the network at the event. Six students worked before and during the event at the Network Operation Center (NOC), helping to set up the network from scratch and troubleshoot during the conference. The other 4 students joined the Cisco Campus in the World of Solutions exhibition space.

Cisco Networking Academy has trained more than 5 million people in 170 countries to design, build, manage, and secure computer networks. Currently nearly 17,000 students, 14 percent of them female, are enrolled in Networking Academy courses in Italy.

Networking Academy students Ivan Saliu and Luca Criscuolo got hands-on experience at CIsco Live.

Networking Academy students Ivan Saliu and Luca Criscuolo got hands-on experience at CIsco Live.

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Cisco Employee Shares How to Pay it Forward

February 21, 2014 at 9:00 am PST

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 12.21.14 PMThis blog was written by Ricardo Benavidez, a government and community relations manager at Cisco, and originally published by Citizen Schools, one of Cisco’s nonprofit partners.

If you walk through my neighborhood of East San Jose you will hear this same story told again and again. The story of men and women who have come to this country in search of a better life, in hopes of securing a better future for themselves and their families. Often this never amounts to more than a hope, but in the case of my parents the goal of securing a better future was secured.

I have the fortune of writing this not only as the government and community relations manager for Cisco, but as a testimony to what one can achieve if given the proper tools. My parents migrated to the US in the ’70s from Mexico– my dad a butcher and my mom a janitor. Neither had much schooling when they arrived to the United States. I took note at a young age how hard they worked and how little they made.

Years later after having been given a strong foundation, I found myself wondering what can I do with the opportunities I have in some cases been handed, in others had to fight for, and in many ways have just been lucky to receive. The answer was a simple one, pay it forward. By sharing my time, my experiences, and my resources I have become a part of a movement to help inspire under-served students to achieve. 

As a volunteer "Citizen Teacher" Ricardo teaches a 10-week after-school apprenticeship on a topic his is passionate about.

As a volunteer, Ricardo teaches a 10-week after-school apprenticeship on a topic his is passionate about.

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A New Look for Corporate Social Responsibility at Cisco

For years I suppose I was just like you, pretty cynical about the whole concept of “Corporate” social responsibility. Can an organization be truly socially responsible given the bottom line is selling product? Five years ago I left an industry I loved, education technology, and entered into the amorphous world of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Thanks to my tutor Teri Treille, who is a queen among luddites when it comes to articulating the intricacies of capturing, and tracking, a corporation’s commitment to society, my level of understanding for the movement of sustainability and socially responsible corporate actions has grown deep.

What I discovered about my company is that giving back to global communities to ensure they thrive is as integrated into our culture as is building networks. Over the years Cisco leaders such as Tae Yoo, Randy Pond, Kathy Mulvany and others have refined a strategy that is unique among our peers. By tying technology, partnerships, and expertise together they have built a strong network that is flexible and allows all employees to integrate CSR into their strategic plans.

There is no doubt that managed well, CSR can create great social and environmental value, support a company’s business objectives while reducing operating costs, and enhance relationships with key stakeholders and customers. But it is no easy task for executives to reconcile various CSR programs, quantify their benefits, and articulate the connection to the business goals while securing the support of his or her business line counterparts. When you see it happen it sometimes seems spontaneous. Digging deeper though you begin to understand that CSR is more than the framework by which to measure success: It is always about the people in the organization who care about taking initiatives to improve our world.

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Cisco Launches New Corporate Social Responsibility Website

Cisco Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has redesigned its external website csr.cisco.com.

The new format makes it easy to find and share impact stories that showcase how Cisco CSR is benefiting people, communities, and the planet. Bringing together technology, partnerships, and our expertise are important reasons for the success of Cisco’s CSR public/private partnerships and its flagship programs like the Cisco Networking Academy.

From the home page you can easily access blog articles by Cisco and sponsored posts on the Huffington Post Impact X section, highlighting how people and technology are converging for social good. The new News and Events page keep readers up-to-date, and our new social sharing feature makes it easy to share compelling content with your online communities.

Each Cisco CSR focus area has its own section: education, healthcare, economic empowerment, critical human needs, environmental sustainability,  ethics, supply chain, and our people.

Please check out the new site at csr.cisco.com, share a story with a friend, and let us know what you think.

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