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Press Release -- September 21st, 2011
Source: Cisco Systems
Tags: Equipment

Business Leaders Gather for British Innovation Gateway Brainstorm

Cisco-led Brainstorm engages professionals to help stimulate British hi-tech innovation and build a brilliant future for UK businesses post London 2012

LONDON, 21 September 2011 – Today Cisco called together some of the most creative and talented technology and digital professionals to meet for an interactive brainstorming London’s Tech City to discuss the British Innovation Gateway (BIG), a campaign intended to accelerate a new wave of entrepreneurial tech culture in the UK.

Following the announcement of BIG in January by Prime MinisterDavid Cameron and Cisco’s Chairman and CEO, John Chambers, the BIG Brainstorm is the first of many initiatives intendedto promote andsupport sustainable and scalable growth of innovative small and medium sized hi-tech enterprises.Underpinned by Cisco’s significant five-year UK investment of cash, technology and human resources to the projected value of $500 million,the Cisco-driven BIG initiative aims to develop Britain’s innovation eco-system and create an environment in which start-up digital businesses and their ideas can flourish.

Today Cisco, a proud supporter of London 2012, led the discussion with Phil Smith, CEO, Cisco UK and Ireland providing an overview of BIG and Cisco’s commitment to open innovation. Cisco’s IBSG Public Sector Manager, Russell Craig, then examined the current state of the UK ICT market, identifying the challenges faced by UK SMEs and highlighting the existing Government funding programmes in place. This paved the way for Cisco to showcase its detailed plans for the BIG programme including National Virtual Incubator (NVI); Innovation Centres, two of which will be in East London’s Tech City; The BIG Awards and ongoing engagement through The BIG Panel.

Cisco then called on the leading lights ofthe UK’s innovation community including Eric Van Der Kleij, CEO of Tech City Investment Organisation and Elizabeth Varley, CEO of TechHub for their input and ideas on specific areas of the BIG programme, in order tofurther develop and refine its plans tobuild a brilliant future for British SMEs.

An artist added to the open and informal atmosphere of the day by graphically recording the meeting on a number of storyboards, which will hang as an installation in one of Cisco’s Innovation Centres, planned to launch in late 2011.

Today’s eventwas the first of many interactive sessions Cisco has planned for the coming months.  In the near future Cisco hopes to involve even more leading digital and tech thought leaders in this forward-thinking and important initiative.

Supporting Quotes:

Phil Smith, CEO, Cisco UK and Ireland:

“Today’s BIG Brainstorm has been vital in supporting our plans to build a brilliant future for tech start-ups and SMEs. It’s important for us to engage openly with industry influencers in order to achieve this vision and today’s attendees were able to offer invaluable insight and real experience about the resources available for the tech community, as well as exchanging ideas on what they believe fosters hi-tech innovation and growth.”

Eric Van Der Kleij, CEO, Tech City Investment Organisation:

“I was delighted to be able to contribute to this event. Initiatives like this are a fantastic opportunity for Britain to foster home-grown technology and business talent, and to help attract the best international talent, contributing to a better future for the UK.”

About Cisco Systems

Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO, news, filings) is the worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate. Information about Cisco can be found at For ongoing news, please go to Cisco equipment in the UK and Ireland is provided by Cisco Systems International B.V. and Cisco International Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cisco Systems, Inc..

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