Cisco is setting up a network of innovation labs in India, called Cisco thingQbator. The aim is to foster innovation and enhance digital skills development , as also to enable entrepreneurship among student communities.
Cisco will also support social sector incubator N/Core to launch N/Core tech, an exclusive track focused on incubating early-stage nonprofits that leverage digital technology to positively impact society and solve some of India’s most pressing social challenges.
N/Core tech will primarily focus on incubating companies that are developing solutions in the areas of critical human needs, education, and economic empowerment. Cisco will support up to 20 organizations during the first year in two cohorts. Each selected startup will receive an innovation grant of INR 10 Lakhs. In addition, the startup will have access to a set of mentors and technology experts from Cisco along with N/Core partners.
With the help of Cisco’s CSR grant, N/Core will invest in early-stage, tech-led ideas partnering with high-impact social sector startups to create scalable and sustainable solutions. In addition to providing cash grants, Cisco will also support these startups with mentoring, employee volunteering, and capacity building.
Cisco thingQbator is in collaboration with NASSCOM Foundation. Five academic institutions have been picked to establish ‘thingQbator’ makerspaces: Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management, (IIITMK), Kerala, IIT-BHU Varanasi, Amrita University Coimbatore, Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women- Delhi and Trident Academy of Technology Bhubaneswar.
This is part of Cisco’s CSR efforts where it looks to impact 1 billion lives worldwide by 2025 through digital solutions.