Cisco launches International Investment Forum – A pioneering concept for “innovation hubs without walls”

Cisco, in partnership with Birmingham Science Park Aston (BSPA) and Keiretsu Forum (KF), is today launching the International Investment Forum (IIF). The IIF will, for the first time, enable international investors to be able to see, discuss and evaluate new companies with serious growth potential in multiple markets face-to-face, without the need to travel.

The IIF is built on Cisco’s Global Exchange for Growth (GXG) initiative, BSPA’s iCentrumTM concept of the “Science Park Without Walls” and Keiretsu Forum’s international network. It utilises the latest collaborative technologies, including video communications platforms such as Cisco’s TelePresence.

The IIF has been developed to connect entrepreneurs looking for funds to a global network of investors – the model will help to pioneer cross-border and intercontinental investment opportunities.

The inaugural IIF demonstration event, taking place on 11 October 2011, will revolve around a live meeting of the Keiretsu Forum, where investors around the world will hear early stage investment pitches from entrepreneurs based in Birmingham and London. The KF, BSPA and tech City Investment Organisation have previously collaboratedto identify, pre-screen and select these entrepreneurs. Participants will join the meeting from a variety of global locations including London, Birmingham, Paris, San Francisco, Seattle, Pleasanton and San Jose.

Phil Smith, CEO Cisco UK&I, said “Location and travel budgets are no longer a barrier to companies getting in front of the best and most appropriate investors. Through advances in the Internet and ICT opportunities now exist to bring multiple parties together via different forms of video collaboration and enable them to engage and do business. Alongside our partners BSPA and KF, Cisco is pioneering a model of “innovation hubs without walls” that supports cities and regions as the nucleus for economic growth and impacts growth acceleration.”

The IIF is closely aligned with the UK Government’s innovation and growth agenda, and David Willets, Minister of State for Universities and Science, will open the first meeting with a keynote speech from Cisco’s London City office. The IIF also integrates with Cisco’s British Innovation Gateway (BIG) programme.

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