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Cisco delivers on country digitization pledge in France through incubator and start-up programs

Initiatives launched and direct investments made to boost IoE and start-up ecosystem across France


Today, Cisco announced it is supporting French incubator and accelerator programs, as well as directly funding some of the most promising Internet of Everything (IoE) start-ups in the country.  These initiatives are part of the agreement between Cisco and the French government made in February which dedicated $100 million investment to start-ups, helping to accelerate the digital transformation of France.

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 IoE start-ups across the country. Key initiatives include:

Le Defi (The Cisco Challenge):  identifiying and promoting new talent

“Le Defi” or “The Cisco Challenge” aims to identify and then promote the next generation of digital entrepreneurs. Bringing together people from many backgrounds with various skillsets, teams of students are invited to pitch their ideas for a new IoE enterprise focused on social and environmental innovation.  The winners will receive €35,000 to go towards making their idea a reality.

The competition is now open for entries and spearheaded by the Cisco Networking Academy, which has trained 25,000 people in IT every year in France since 2001. 

The Camp: a digital innovation campus in Aix-en-Provence

The Camp brings together researchers, teachers, businesses and start-ups in a single location to create the city of tomorrow through discussion, reflection and innovation.

The project was launched on July 5, 2015 in Aix-en-Provence by its co-chairmen Emmanuel Macron, the Minister of Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs, and Jean-Hervé Lorenzi, president of think-tank Le Cercle des Economistes.

Commitment to the NUMA Sprint accelerator program

Cisco is the network partner for the seventh season of NUMA Sprint. Through this partnership with one of France’s foremost accelerators, Cisco will support 22 chosen start-ups with equipment and expertise to help bring their business ideas to market.

Partnership with Actility, an Internet of Things specialist

Actility provides smart energy management,  Machine to Machine (M2M) and Internet of Things services. Its ThingPark Wireless solution for long-range and low-power sensors connects cities, buildings, homes and factories together. ThingPark is a standardized and interoperable platform that uses the LoRaWAN standard, meaning its sensors do not need a 3G or 4G network to operate.

Not only does this reduce deployment costs, but the batteries in Actility devices can last several years. As low power sensors will be crucial to the IoE, Cisco has chosen to support LoRaWAN as an open technology. Cisco is proud to view Actility as a key partner to accelerate the deployment of IoE infrastructure and services.

Investment in 6WIND, a software solutions company for network operators

Cisco Investments has made an investment in 6WIND, a Parisian start-up, whose software solves performance challenges for network vendors in telecom, enterprise and cloud infrastructure markets. 6WIND creates new market opportunities for NFV (Network Function Virtualization) and SDN (Software-Defined Networking), and creates industrial applications and IP-based communications systems. Cisco is directly supporting start-ups by providing infrastructure solutions that deliver high-speed broadband and smart grids throughout the country.

Robert Vassoyan CEO, Cisco France said, “Innovation is in the DNA of Cisco. France has almost limitless potential and our mission is to support innovation across our entire ecosystem. These first initiatives demonstrate our active cooperation with innovative companies to aid them in their development, and show that we are committed to continuing our efforts in this area to drive growth, competitivity and employment of our country.”


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