By Max Clarke

In a meeting today between UK Prime Minister, David Cameron and Cisco Chairman and CEO, John Chambers, Cisco pledged support for efforts to generate a long-term investment of money, technology and manpower that would help support the design and implementation of an initiative called the British Innovation Gateway (BIG).

In line with the government’s goals of driving new economic growth through high-tech innovation, fostering an environment of entrepreneurship within the UK and ensuring an enduring legacy from the London 2012 Olympic Games, BIG will mark the start of a five-year effort to catalyse sustainable and scalable growth of innovative high-tech small and medium sized enterprises.

Speaking about the move, Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“We want to bring together the energy and innovation of Shoreditch and the incredible potential of the Olympic Park to help make East London one of the world’s great technology centres. Today this ambition is gathering pace.

John Chambers, chairman and CEO of Cisco
“The Prime Minister’s Tech City Initiative is an excellent example of how government agencies can spur innovation and growth,"

“This project is a logical progression of the work we’ve done in the east of London for the 2012 Olympic Games, and we are delighted to work with the UK Government as it serves as a reminder of how business and government, working together can turn vision into reality."

BIG will include two networked Innovation Centres — an open innovation centre in Shoreditch developed in partnership with the local SME community, and another at the Olympic Park providing a ‘state of the art connected community’ with special focus on developing and demonstrating a new wave of solutions for London and other cities.

Orchestrated by Cisco, these centres will be underpinned by state-of-the-art networked collaboration technologies linking innovation and technology centres across the UK and other global hubs of innovation.

The British Innovation Gateway will also see Cisco leading the following initiatives:

• Continuously expanding collaboration technologies and business networks that link to other important innovation clusters in East London such as the Digital Peninsula in Greenwich, and increasing the range of users and partners, including technology innovation centres across the U.K. and abroad. Early efforts will focus on working with the Birmingham Science Park Aston to build BIG linkages to its iCentrumTM “Science Park Without Walls”.
• Five annual competitions called the “BIG Awards: Powered by Cisco I-PRIZE, which seeks to discover excellence in innovation and business acumen from UK SMEs in targeted growth areas.
• Mentoring, training and access to top in-house expertise from Cisco to assist BIG Awards winners and other UK innovators to develop, test and pilot new technologies in order to accelerate their market entry in support of fresh economic growth.