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Cisco announces $100K award for Canadian startups

Bernadette WightmanTORONTO – Cisco opened the doors of its Cisco Innovation Centre at the Cisco Canada headquarters in downtown Toronto. At the opening, the company also announced a Canadian Innovation Prize, a competition to identify innovative and disruptive technology startups across Canada with a grand prize of $100,000 (Cdn) on offer. Contest criteria and details will be formally announced in the coming weeks and can be found at http://www.cisco.com/ca/prize.

The Cisco Innovation Centre Toronto, one of nine Cisco Innovation Centres worldwide, is designed to catalyze and showcase digital innovation and development. The Centre will bring together customers, industry collaborators, startups, application developers, accelerators, government organizations and universities to work on real world problems, with a focus on urban innovation (including smart cities, urban mobility, and environmental transformation), healthcare and financial services transformation.

The Cisco Innovation Centre Toronto is the culmination of several years of Cisco’s investment in Canada, including: the Cisco Canada Innovation Program, which is investing up to $150 Million in Canadian companies and venture capital funds; the establishment of 12 University Research Chairs across Canada; the R&D job creation initiative with the Province of Ontario; the Pan Am/Parapan technology legacy program; and our R&D centres across Canada.

“Cisco’s commitment to bring this unique facility to our city shows we are on the path to establishing Toronto and Canada as innovation leaders,” said John Tory, Mayor of Toronto. “This Centre offers our brightest and most talented an opportunity to take their game changing ideas from a concept to reality. By providing access to test labs for experimentation, investment for commercialization and networks to access the global market, Cisco’s Innovation Centre will help build Toronto’s economy of the future.”

“The mantra of the Toronto Innovation Centre is Inspire, Innovate and Invest,” said Bernadette Wightman (pictured), president, Cisco Canada. “Inspire the next great minds of tomorrow. Foster innovation and big ideas today. And invest in the potential game-changing companies of tomorrow.”

Located on the 29th floor of Cisco’s new Toronto offices, this facility offers an open digital platform where customers, partners, entrepreneurs and academics can create, test and refine new solutions that have the capacity to change industries. The Innovation Centre is comprised of both purpose-built and flexible collaboration spaces. Components include:

• A dynamic classroom space where Cisco Networking Academy students and instructors can have hands-on access to the latest Cisco technology and mentorship from Cisco engineers.

• A Solutions Lab, dedicated to the development of industry solutions and addressing specific customer requirements. In the lab, Cisco experts, together with partners and ecosystem startups, will develop proof of concepts and do rapid prototyping. The Toronto team is already working with an ecosystem of more than 25 local and international companies and organizations.

• A TelePresence room for collaboration with Cisco’s global Innovation Centres, as well as customers, partners, academia across the country.

• Several flexible rooms where customers, startups, researchers and entrepreneurs are invited to work and brainstorm on new ideas and technologies.

• The Innovation Centre also has access to Cisco Canada’s new Customer Experience Centre, which showcases the latest Cisco technology and demonstrations.

Cisco Canada also announced the launch of the Cisco Women Entrepreneurs’ Circle, which will officially kick off at an evening reception connecting women entrepreneurs from Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto. The Circle aims to provide entrepreneurs across the country with access to training, a university intern matching program, special technology offerings, and networking opportunities.

“Cisco Canada is an important partner for our government as we work to foster innovation and grow the economy,” said the Honourable Reza Moridi, Minister of Research and Innovation, Province of Ontario. “This new centre will strengthen our province’s vibrant innovation ecosystem and ensure Ontario is a global leader in emerging areas.”

“Developing new ideas, new products, and opening new markets are crucial for maintaining Canada’s competitive edge,” said the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism. “By helping companies capitalize on digital opportunities, Cisco Canada is not only supporting job creation, but contributing to the improvement of communities. I also applaud the launch of the Cisco Women Entrepreneurs’ Circle, an amazing initiative that will help women entrepreneurs reach their goals.”

“Digital technologies are revolutionizing the way we live our lives. At the same time, thanks to investments like the one announced today by Cisco Canada, they are also creating new and exciting opportunities for Canadian companies,” said the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

“The Government has made it a priority to help Canadian industry do things better, faster, and smarter – to create a real culture of innovation. This new Centre will certainly help in this work. Congratulations to Cisco on this state-of-the-art facility. It is a shining example of the collaborative spirit that is the bedrock of Canada’s bright digital future.”

About Cisco
Cisco is a worldwide leader in IT that helps companies seize the opportunities of tomorrow by proving that amazing things can happen when you connect the previously unconnected. Cisco products and services are supplied in Canada by Cisco Systems Canada Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Cisco Systems, Inc. For ongoing news, please go to http://newsroom.cisco.com/ and http://americas.thecisconetwork.com/

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1 Comment responses

  1. Avatar
    January 05, 2017

    I was able to attend a Smith MBA event at the Cisco centre in December and the event was amazing. The look of the office was like any other office, but the purpose of the office is what sets the space apart. Over 100 people attended the event and I heard some amazing pitches seeking a $25K prize.

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