Cisco opens Northern Powerhouse innovation centre

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As well as startups, established tech companies are expected to benefit

Cisco and Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP) are opening the Mi-IDEA innovation centre on MSP’s central campus. The centre will support the growth of key innovation clusters in northern England.

Mi-IDEA (Manchester Inspired – Innovation Digital Enterprise Alliance) will work with early-stage companies in the North to develop innovative technologies and solutions. The partnership will focus on the areas of smart cities, the Internet of Things (IoT), digital healthcare and the digital creative sector.

In addition, the centre will offer post-accelerator and established technology companies a tailored programme to “help develop the confidence and necessary capabilities as they scale”, said the partners.

ManchesterLocated in MSP’s newest 70,000 sq ft development, No. 1 MSP Central, in the heart of Manchester’s innovation district, Mi-IDEA will also function as a second site in the UK for Cisco CREATE.

Cisco CREATE is a collaborative research operation which works with industry partners, startups, government, research institutions and universities. It aims to find innovative, technology-based solutions to pressing real world challenges.

Phil Smith, chief executive, 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. It will benefit from MSP’s existing partnerships across the region. Coupled with Cisco’s successes at IDEALondon and Cisco CREATE, we’re confident that Mi-IDEA will deliver a unique environment in which tech companies in Manchester can grow.”

Anne Dornan, head of innovation at Manchester Science Partnerships, said: “In high growth sectors it’s vital to provide targeted and specialist support programmes with access to global supply chains in order to unlock the potential economic impact for the UK.

Bringing together diverse partners from across public, private and academic sectors to drive innovation and economic growth is at the heart of MSP and a hugely rewarding endeavour.”

In July last year, Cisco announced that it would invest over $1 billion in the UK over the subsequent three to five years.

@AntonySavvas