Cisco announced a planned series of strategic investments in India that will total over US $100 million including US $40 million to fund early-stage and growth-stage companies in the country and train 250,000 students in India by 2020. Supporting the next phase of the country’s digitization plans, Cisco will collaborate closely with state governments in India on strategic initiatives including the addition of 6 new innovation labs, 3 centres of expertise, funded university collaborations and skills investments. Cisco made the announcement in the presence of John Chambers, Executive Chairman, Cisco; Irving Tan, President, Cisco Asia Pacific & Japan; and Dinesh Malkani, President, Cisco India and SAARC. The new activities form part of Cisco’s global ‘Country Digitization Acceleration’ or CDA program, whereby select countries across the world receive major strategic investment to accelerate existing government goals for driving economic growth through high-tech innovation.
Cisco doubled its plan to help Indian students acquire the skills necessary for 21st century jobs. By combining technology and education, Cisco has set a goal of creating a pipeline of 250,000 skilled students in India by 2020 and a marketplace for high value technology based careers. As part of Cisco’s commitment to accelerate India’s digital transformation, the company will expand the Cisco Networking Academy® program to help India increase its pool of highly skilled technology professionals and expand its accessibility to education, research and technology. The Cisco® Networking Academy in India is one of the largest programs for Cisco worldwide. Across 176 academies nationwide, over 110,000 students have been trained since its inception through arrangements with educational institutions, public sector agencies, and nonprofit organisations. The skills-development program is a cloud-delivered, scalable, high-quality program that helps students learn how to design, build, secure and maintain computer networks and prepare for jobs in the digital economy.
Long an active equity investor in India, Cisco has made significant strategic investments in growth stage companies in the country. Today’s financial commitment includes an allocation of US $40 million to promote the growth of early-stage and growth stage companies, marking a new phase of support for innovation in India and aligned to the country’s digital transformation agenda. Cisco’s focus will be on next generation technologies such as security, cloud, and the Internet of Things as well as digital plays in smart cities, financial services, healthcare, e-governance. Cisco’s strategy is to have an active role at all stages of start-up development, from identification, creation of incubators and accelerator programs, to directly and indirectly funding the most promising digital start-ups across India. Cisco will provide the opportunity for companies and the innovation ecosystem to build businesses, innovate and go global with digital solutions.
As part of today’s announcement, Cisco intends to launch 6 innovation labs, 3 centres of expertise and funded university collaborations, across select states in India, that offer opportunities for diverse groups of entrepreneurs, start-ups, accelerators, developers, researchers, ecosystem partners and the venture community to build businesses and innovate in digital technologies, smart cities and the Internet of Things. Cisco’s vision is to combine the best of academia with real-world collaborations to create a virtuous cycle of innovation that will accelerate the digital transformation of states and help shape the success of India.
Cisco plans collaboration with states that are committed to embracing and planning for digitization in order to improve their economies, their citizen experience and overall wellbeing. Cisco is the leading technology provider and business partner helping states and cities become digital hubs of innovation by building sophisticated and forward-thinking IT network ecosystems that allow for greater connectivity, productivity, and security. Through the digital transformation of states, Cisco will work with governments and businesses to grow GDP, create new jobs, train the future workforce, build smart cities, develop new business models and enable better quality of life for residents and more satisfying experiences for visitors. Cisco is also looking to collaborate with the public sector and contribute to large-scale transformation projects such as smart cities as well as education, and healthcare.
John Chambers, Executive Chairman, Cisco said, “Digitization goes beyond connectivity. The impact of digitization is far-reaching, helping countries maintain global competitiveness, foster innovation and create jobs. Education and Internet are two equalizers in life. With our increased investments in education and innovation, we are harnessing the power of technology to launch a generation of problem solvers who will innovate like technologists, think like entrepreneurs and act as social change agents.
Irving Tan, President, Cisco Asia Pacific & Japan, said, ”Innovation is an interdisciplinary exercise. No one organization can address the challenges of digitization on its own. Today’s announcement demonstrates Cisco’s ability to bring together customers, partners, startups and an entire ecosystem to work together to build businesses of tomorrow and innovate to help shape India’s success.”
Dinesh Malkani, President, Cisco India and SAARC, said, “We are thrilled that India has been chosen for Cisco’s global country digitization acceleration program. India’s digital transformation will grow the economy faster, will provide employment & inclusion, will enable innovation opportunities; and help deliver affordable citizen services to become more competitive on the global stage. Today’s announcements underscore India’s strategic importance to Cisco’s global operations particularly as an innovator in the next wave of the Internet’s development. We believe Cisco with its full breadth of technology, and leadership in digitization can impact the lives of 1.25 billion Indians in a meaningful way.”