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Putting Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence into High Gear: More Startup Innovations for the Internet of Everything

Cisco’s leadership in the emerging market for the Internet of Everything (IoE), Smart Cities and Big Data/analytics rests on our ability to harness the technologies and business models of our global partner ecosystem – especially those of early-stage startups who are building truly disruptive capabilities for the future. I previously shared my vision of Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence (Cisco EIR) pioneering new ways for Cisco, already a successful innovator in the global IT space, to collaborate with innovative entrepreneurs in shaping the emerging technologies that will redefine our industry and change our lives. Since then, six startups joined our first incubation track last spring in Silicon Valley and began collaborating closely with Cisco business and engineering groups to co-create solutions for Cisco’s customers and partners. I shared various updates in the following months about the EIR program’s exciting milestones adding co-incubation partners across the US, taking the program to Europe and selecting the first startups to join our program there.

Today, I am pleased to share two more milestones marking the continued success of our open innovation strategy at Cisco, with Cisco EIR helping to lead the way.

Cisco EIR Demo Day 2014

On December 8th, 2014, we celebrated the successes of the startups in our inaugural cohort with our first Cisco EIR Demo Day (photos) a gathering of over 100 attendees, including Cisco business and technology leaders, VCs, partners and others from the Silicon Valley startup community.

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Bay Area Nonprofit Grantees Reunite with Cisco Employee Champions at Awards Event

One of Cisco’s longest-running traditions is a special program for Silicon Valley nonprofits, which has offered Community Impact Cash Grants to carefully selected community organizations for more than a decade. In recent years, the grant amount has been set at $15,000 each for programs focused on K-8 education and health, a subset of Cisco’s overall social investment areas.

A unique aspect of the program is its reliance on Cisco employee volunteers. While holding down their day jobs, these hardworking team members help drive every aspect of the grantmaking process – from evaluating the applications to performing site visits to identifying the 40 strongest applicants from a large and worthy pool. (See this year’s awardees.) On Wednesday, this year’s recipients gathered at Cisco’s headquarters in San Jose, California, to pick up their checks, brainstorm with peers about common challenges they face, and reunite with the Cisco employees who helped evaluate and recommend their grant proposals as the most competitive.

From left: Operation Access’ Marisol Ponce de Leon, Cisco’s Cindy Cooley, and Operation Access’ Ellen Kaufman.

From left: Operation Access’ Marisol Ponce de Leon, Cisco’s Cindy Cooley, and Operation Access’ Ellen Kaufman.

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Great Expectations: Onward and Upward

As a young man growing up in the East End of London during the 1970s, I recall that some parents had low expectations for their children. Their thinking, our child probably won’t amount to much, given their environment. Why? Prolonged poverty can deplete the human spirit of any hope for a better future.

Throughout its history, the area was known as an affordable haven for poor people and immigrants. East London had developed rapidly during the 19th century. The neighborhoods surrounding the West India Docks the East India Docks and Mill Wall Dock — along the banks of the river Thames — were once thriving communities of tradesmen and merchants.

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