Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Innovation starts at home for our Entrepreneurs in Residence

November 28, 2016

You only have to spend an afternoon at IDEALondon (or any of the many other start-up accelerators across the UK & Ireland) to get a sense of how vibrant and innovative the UK’s homegrown start-up scene is.

But while it’s generally easier for start-ups to be agile and adapt to a rapidly shifting world, you don’t have to be a brand new organisation to be innovative.

We invest huge amounts into our Innovation Engine – a five-pronged approach to creating things that are not only new but better, and of significant value.

And what better way to work towards a common cause with somebody than inviting them into your home?

How it works                                    

The Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence (EiR) programme takes this idea to its logical conclusion. We find start-ups we believe in, partner with them, then help build their business into something bigger.

In a nutshell, it’s a six-month incubation programme for early-stage, product-focused entrepreneurs who are working on the ideas that we can see making the world a better place.

We’re covering all of our focus areas, working with innovators across IoT, AI , security, enterprise mobility, blockchain, and, of course, the cloud.

With the help of Cisco – and the human, financial and technological resources that being among the world’s biggest and most-established tech companies entails – these innovative thinkers are given the space and time required to develop their ideas.

Already seeing results

The project has been a huge success.

Since launching in 2013, the EiR programme has taken in 33 companies, about 20% of which have already made exits.

This is far from coincidence, though. Every company brought onto the programme works closely with a senior Cisco sponsor from a relevant business unit, and these relationships are absolutely vital.

It’s all about developing a dialogue – one that both sides are active in and benefitting from.

Easy as ABC

With this approach comes a need for transparency.

It helps that our reputation precedes us – Cisco was named this year as the best corporate for start-ups to work with.

All of our teams are instilled with their own sense of entrepreneurialism and bring plenty of experience of working with start-ups and scale-ups to the table.

We often refer to our approach as following an ‘ABC’ routine, with A standing for agility, B for business model, and C for continuity.

This might sound simple, but it’s an ever-present reminder of the importance not only of moving quickly with – or ahead of – the times, but to ensure things are moving in the right direction with the stamina required to make a lasting difference to the world.

Interested in finding out more about the EiR programme? Pay us a visit over here

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