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BIG Awards Finalists Vie for $100K and Mentoring Support

October 1, 2013 at 9:43 am PST

So here we are again – seems like only yesterday that we were going through the difficult task of picking the BIG Awards 2012 finalists…. and now over a year later we are about to announce the finalists for the 2013 competition, and have had a full year supporting last year’s winners Snap Fashion and Digital Shadows.

The BIG Awards is one of the 4 main components of Cisco’s British Innovation Gateway (BIG) programme, which forms the core of our innovation-based legacy from London 2012.

So much has happened in the last 12 months it’s hard to fathom and already both 2012 winners are moving their businesses forward in so many ways. Snap Fashion launched in Singapore and Digital Shadows received Cool Vendor 2013 status from Gartner. It seems like they are the “grown-ups” to the new talent coming through – I have to say it was great to see Jenny,  CEO from Snap Fashion, and Alastair, CEO from Digital Shadows, offering their advice and experience at our recent semi-final event at the Hospital Club in Covent Garden.

Phil Smith, CEO of Cisco UKI and Tom Kneen, BIG Programme Lead, Cisco with Jenny Griffiths, CEO and Founder of Snap Fashion and Alastair Paterson, CEO of Digital Shadows.

Phil Smith, CEO of Cisco UKI and Tom Kneen, BIG Programme Lead, Cisco with Jenny Griffiths, CEO and Founder of Snap Fashion and Alastair Paterson, CEO of Digital Shadows.

As a team we were wondering how we would match the quality of the 6 finalists from 2012. But when we first glanced at the early submissions for the 2013 competition we knew we had no need to be worried – the entries did not disappoint and once again the judging panel was set a very hard task to pick 20 semi-finalists and then in the last couple of weeks the finalists.

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4 Steps to Write the Perfect Pitch for Your Start-Up

July 29, 2013 at 8:00 am PST

In every sales training I have attended, this question is always posed to me: “You meet the CIO in the corridor, how do you get a meeting with him?” To be honest, there is not a huge difference in how you answer this question whether you are a start-up seeking an investor or the attention of a mentor.

Being a business mentor for both Cisco’s British Innovation Gateway and RAPTOR research and development project, I have attended a lot of start-up events and met a lot of business owners. When I meet people for the first time, I always ask them to tell me about their start-up or business. This is exactly the type of question the start-ups pitching for the IDEALondon competition will have to be prepared for.

Cisco opened the IDEALondon competition for start-ups attending the Wired Money event earlier this month. This event, a partnership between Wired UK and Cisco, introduced the innovators transforming finance in the digital age, brought together entrepreneurs reinventing the financial industry, and highlighted the trends and risks that will shape innovation and define the future.

Wired_blog

Networking was a key component of the Cisco-Wired Money event

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Cisco BIG Awards: Calling All UK Entrepreneurs

May 20, 2013 at 11:13 am PST

It’s incredible to think that we are only a month away from closing entries for this year’s BIG Awards. This is the second BIG Awards competition we have run in the UK since the British Innovation Gateway programme was announced in January 2011 by Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers and Prime Minister David Cameron.

The annual open innovation competition identifies and offers financial and mentor support for the next generation of the UK’s digital entrepreneurs and startup companies.

It seems like yesterday that we were at the top of the Gherkin, launching this year’s competition and hearing about the great progress that last year’s winners – Snap Fashion, Digital Shadows, and Six 3 – have made over the past 6 months. Now the sun has come out (briefly), the football season is over, and we start to think about summer and the announcement of our 20 short-listed semi-finalists.

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British Innovation Gateway (BIG): Now the hard work’s really begun…

March 1, 2013 at 10:48 am PST

It was only a year ago that we were all eagerly anticipating London 2012 in our role as network infrastructure supporter. It was exciting, at times daunting and – looking back – tremendous to be at the heart of bringing the Games to the world.

To quote Lord Coe at the closing ceremony, “we did it right.” In many ways, the end of the Games was actually the start for us. That’s why on the back of our success, I’m looking forward to 2013 with huge optimism. It’s time to make our Games legacy a reality.

Back in 2011, we pledged to support the development of Tech City in London and the Government’s wider UK growth and innovation agenda. So how are plans shaping up And how are we helping students to learn? How are we discovering and supporting entrepreneurs? How are we helping them to mature and grow their technology start-ups?

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Digital Britain: Embracing Open Innovation

October 10, 2011 at 9:10 am PST

Since my first involvement with the ever growing East London Tech City, I’ve noticed that the social interaction is creating an electric atmosphere in Shoreditch. The lively restaurant and bar scene is also fuelling a vibrant business networking environment.  Tech-centric events are happening around the area — including the Silicon Roundabout Meet Up, the Mini Bar Meet and the Silicon-Drink-About.

One of the Co-Working spaces that have been a haven for me is the TechHub facility.  I have participated in a number of events, including their Tech Tuesdays and their 1st Birthday party – both of which orientated around beer, pizza and tech dialogue. I know what you’re thinking; we British really do enjoy a good pint.

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