Cisco backs Northern tech start-ups with Manchester innovation hub

Following its Corporate Startup Star win, the tech giant is launching Mi-IDEA which will focus on smart cities, IoT, and the digital creative sector

Multinational technology company Cisco – Europe’s Corporate Startup Stars winner – has joined forces with Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP) to open a new innovation centre in the city.

Located on MSP’s central campus, Manchester Inspired – Innovation Digital Enterprise Alliance (Mi-IDEA) will work with early-stage Northern businesses to help them develop innovative technologies and solutions.

It will focus on start-ups in the smart cities, Internet-of-Things (IoT), digital healthcare, and the digital creative sectors.

Mi-IDEA marks Cisco Create’s second site: a collaborative research programme which seeks to bring together industry partners, start-ups government, research institutions and universities to find technological solutions to “some of the most pressing real world challenges of today”.

The hub is Cisco’s second start-up focused innovation centre following the launch of IDEALondon in 2013 which is said to have raised more than £20m in funding and created 120 jobs.

The launch comes just days after Cisco was named the top European corporate brand for start-ups to work with in Nesta’s index of the Europe’s 25 Corporate Startup Stars. The company was recognised for its approach to targeting start-ups and scale-ups building disruptive technologies, alongside its focus on agility, business model and continuity.

Phil Smith, chief executive of Cisco UK & Ireland, said:

“The city of Manchester has innovation in its DNA. Our investment in the city builds on our ongoing commitment to support new digital businesses and high-tech entrepreneurs across the UK. Mi-IDEA will be uniquely positioned to tap into local, national and international innovation ecosystems.”


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