Last Wednesday, October 1, Cisco France announced its second annual Le Défi Cisco – or The Cisco Challenge. This competition is created and led by Cisco volunteers and encourages college students and young entrepreneurs to develop technology projects that address social or environmental issues. All entries must harness the Internet of Everything – the connections among people, process, data, and things.

Building on the success of the first competition, where the winning team of Cisco Networking Academy students from the city of Nancy designed a connected white stick for the blind, Cisco France decided to multiply the competition’s impact by redesigning the format.

This year, 2 parallel contests will run: one for students still in school, and the other for young entrepreneurs with an already-matured project. After the closing of applications on January 4, 2015, a jury will select 6 finalist teams. Finalists will each receive support from Cisco mentors who will help them mature their projects and prototype the solutions for the final jury. Both winners will be awarded with a €15,000 cash prize, Cisco mentoring, and equipment to create their new business.

Le Defi Cisco

The two winning projects will be incubated by SenseCube, a start-up accelerator dedicated to social entrepreneurs, and a new partner for this second edition. It’s a perfect match with “Le Défi Cisco” concept as its philosophy is to support entrepreneurs in mixing digital technologies and community support to create and implement high-impact solutions on a global scale.

Workshops lay a foundation

SenseCube and Cisco France will stimulate the imaginations of young talent through 8 creativity workshops organized in 8 French cities, bringing together students from engineering, business, and design schools. These events will enable students to share ideas, brainstorm on issues and solutions, and create multidisciplinary teams to boost their creativity and effectiveness.

The Internet of Everything is a key topic for the French economy. “All the companies, from every economic sector, will transition into technological companies,” said Robert Vassoyan, General Manager for Cisco France. “Each year, we teach 26,000 students the skills to become an Internet or network professional thanks to our Networking Academy program. With ‘Le Défi Cisco,’ we want to offer a platform for the students and young entrepreneurs who want to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the IoE. The competition has a unique characteristic: leveraging technologies to answer social or environmental issues and engaging our employees in mentoring the finalists.”

Let’s see what great projects come up this year and wish good luck to all the candidates!


Natacha Comar

Project Coordinator