Bird & Bird continues to celebrate and reward innovative UK start-ups through the Cisco BIG Awards

By Richard Eaton, Roger Bickerstaff


Following the success of last year's BIG Awards, Cisco, with the support of Bird & Bird, is continuing its quest to discover and help develop emerging and early-stage technology based start-ups. Last year the BIG Awards attracted more than 300 entries, including six fantastic finalists. Registration has now opened for the 2013 competition, and Cisco is calling all new start-ups and SMEs to raise the bar this year.

Bird & Bird has been selected as the sole legal sponsor for the second successive year. As part of the winner’s package, Bird & Bird will provide free legal advice and 12 months mentoring to the winner. The BIG Awards will run between March and November 2013 and involve a four-stage judging process. The final of the awards will take place at a special event on 14 November 2013, where the six finalists will present their business plans live to a judging panel before the winner is chosen. Read about Bird & Bird involvement in the 2012 competition here and our "checklist for start-ups" event.

With support from additional partners including DNX, Spigit, Right Management and Octopus Communications the BIG Awards is now an annual open innovation competition to discover and reward the finest examples of the UK's most futuristic start-up digital businesses and SMEs. Last year Snap Fashion was crowned winner, following a live Dragon's Den-style event. Jenny Griffiths, Founder and CEO, was presented with a cheque for $100,000, plus a mentorship package valued at over $75k including legal, business, investment, technology, marketing and PR support.

Runners-up and semi-finalists will also receive cash and technology prizes to support and accelerate the development of their brands and businesses. The BIG Awards is an essential part of Cisco's British Innovation Gateway (BIG) initiative, a significant five-year investment of cash, technology and human resources, which aims to develop Britain's innovation eco-system and create an environment in which start-up digital businesses and their ideas can flourish. The awards will continue annually throughout the five-year duration of Cisco's BIG initiative to help create a community of innovative industry leaders.

Open to individuals, groups and legal entities in the UK, applicants can enter their technology concept or prototype idea into one of four categories that represent some of the most relevant technology challenges and mega-trends we are seeing across the globe today. For each category, the entry should showcase how the concept can benefit the public and private sectors, utilising the network as the platform to deliver economic, social and environmental sustainability.

The categories are:

·         BIG Data, including Data Centre/Virtualisation

·         Collaboration, including Video and Social Media

·         The Internet of Things

·         Mobility

For more information on each category and competition entry requirements, visit the BIG Awards website. Registration is now open and entrants will be able to submit their initial business or technology ideas until 21 June 2013.


Richard Eaton                              Roger Bickerstaff