Disruptive technologies know no boundaries because innovation is global. Now so are we. I am thrilled to announce the expansion of Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence (Cisco EIR) to EMEAR (Europe, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa) with the formation of Cisco EIR Europe.
Our European program, based initially in Vienna, Austria, will launch in January 2015 with a small cohort of early-stage European startups drawn from across EMEAR. We will recruit and invite game-changing entrepreneurs in the Internet of Everything, security, Big Data/analytics, Smart Cities and other transformational opportunities that are in Cisco’s strategic line of sight to join. The program will offer selected startups the same resources and benefits as Cisco EIR in Silicon Valley.
Tapping into the entrepreneurial spirit of EMEAR
I visited Vienna this past June while we were in the early planning stages for the expansion of Cisco EIR beyond Silicon Valley. My trip gave me an opportunity to speak with key members of the regional entrepreneurial community – startups, VCs and others supporting startups – as well as government officials about innovation in EMEAR. A highlight of my trip was a conversation with the team behind the Pioneers Festival, one of Europe’s premier entrepreneurial events (and now our launch partner for Cisco EIR Europe). I saw tremendous potential in the entrepreneurs I met – and a significant opportunity for Cisco.
Everyone I spoke to in Vienna was filled with enthusiasm regarding the groundswell of innovation throughout EMEAR – and with good reason. As Mala Anand, SVP of Cisco Services Platforms Group, shared in her recent blog article, 17 of the top 20 countries in the recent Global Innovation Index are drawn from EMEAR. Vienna, meanwhile, ranks #1 on Fast Company’s “The top 10 Smart Cities on the planet” list, while other European cities take up another five of the slots.
The energy of my colleagues in Europe was infectious. Soon after the trip, we decided to launch Cisco EIR Europe and chose Vienna as our launchpad for the region.
EMEAR startups: Your invitation to innovate
We have partnered with Pioneers in the lead up to the Pioneers Festival in October 2014 to jointly recruit and evaluate startups for Cisco EIR Europe. Up to six companies will be selected from across EMEAR through a multi-phase evaluation process to join our first European cohort in 2015.
Entrepreneurs in EMEAR, this is your invitation to innovate with Cisco. You can learn more about our collaboration with Pioneers and enter your startup for consideration here. [Update: Applications closed September 7, 2014]
We are also accepting applications for our Fall 2014 cohort in Silicon Valley. [Update: Applications closed August 31, 2014]