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Cisco UK Makes BIG Progress Toward Tech Innovation in 2013

December 22, 2013 at 10:00 pm PST

Well what a fantastic year it has been in the British Innovation Gateway (BIG) programme — Cisco’s initiative to discover, support, and accelerate innovation and growth amongst tech-based “start ups” across the UK.

We started the year with the objective of achieving a minimum of 3 things – running another successful BIG Awards competition in 2013, opening our Innovation Centre in the Shoreditch district of London, and hitting critical mass with the National Virtual Incubator. But as we come to the end of 2013, it is clear we have achieved so much more!

Things kicked off in January when I joined several hundred like-minded people at the great Spigit Innovation Summit (SIS 2013) in Dana Point, California and we presented a keynote on the BIG programme and how it sits at the centre of our London 2012 Olympic Legacy. It was fantastic to share the stage with such inspirational leaders and speakers as Sir Ken Robinson (a TED veteran) and Paul Pluschkell, founder and CEO of Spigit (now Spigit Mindjet), not to mention many of their leading Innovation customers such as Citibank and Novartis who also took part.

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Here’s to You Entrepreneurs: Top 5 Go-to-Market Monetization Tips

Ged FittonBy Ged Fitton, Guest Blogger

The British Innovation Gateway (BIG) is a great Cisco-led initiative to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in the UK. A great part of my work on BIG involves the support  of IDEALondon – Cisco’s innovation centre -- and its start-ups.  And I have to say I’m always impressed with the enthusiasm and determination of companies to think outside the box, and challenge the status quo. It’s a fantastically exciting space to work in. In my role of helping companies monetise their innovation, I thought I’d share a few tips on how not to fall into the traps that I’ve seen many start-ups fall into. Read More »

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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.

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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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