(3BL Media) San Jose, CA and Moscow – March 29, 2012 – Cisco today announced the signing of a strategy document outlining its Research and Development plans with the Skolkovo Foundation. This marks an important milestone in Cisco’s multi-year, $1bn investment in sustainable innovation within the Russian Federation. The plan sets the way for the company to create a physical R&D presence in the Skolkovo Technopolis, and was announced at the Global Technology Symposium, in Menlo Park, California.
The strategy reinforces Cisco’s investment in the Skolkovo Project, an initiative supported by President Medvedev to create a technology and innovation hub on the outskirts of Moscow. Cisco recently received formal Skolkovo participant status, which enables the company to begin engineering activities and formally establish a physical presence.
Cisco aims to focus R&D in Skolkovo on high-impact areas of the business, including video and internal start-ups, using Skolkovo as the physical and virtual platform for innovation. This will contribute to transforming Skolkovo into one of the most advanced technology regions in the world.
The initial Memorandum of Understanding between Cisco and Skolkovo was signed in June 2010 and contemplates five concurrent collaborative phases over the next decade: the first phase consists of engaging with the VC community and talent development; the second phase establishes a physical presence in Russia; the third phase extends a dedicated Cisco R&D capability within Russia; the fourth phase focuses on go-to-market models; and the fifth phase builds a partnering model with local companies. Today’s strategy advances Cisco’s planned commitments in the concurrent second and third phases.
This strategy follows Tuesday’s successful first meeting of the Innovation Working Group of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission, co-chaired by U.S. Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and Environment Robert Hormats and Russian Presidential Advisor Arkady Dvorkovich, and held at Cisco headquarters in San Jose, California. The goals of the meeting are well aligned with Cisco’s plans to invest strategically around the globe to drive innovation in emerging and developed economies.
Additional News Highlights of Cisco’s Investments in Russia:
Talent Development: In alignment with Cisco’s phase one goal of developing talent in Russia outlined in the June 2010 Skolkovo MoU, the company is increasing its talent development plans with a new goal to triple the number of Cisco Networking Academies in the country from the current 217 to 650 by mid-2014. As a result the program would encompass all levels of Russia’s education system, aiming to train 16,000 students in networking and IT skills every year.
Cisco’s approach to talent development extends beyond the physical presence in Skolkovo. For example, 1,500 secondary schools in Tatarstan, the region of Russia to the east of Moscow, have just rolled out a complete borderless network and wireless infrastructure. This deployment, unprecedented in Russia, aligns with an MoU signed with Tatarstan’s Government to use technology to drive next-generation education ahead of the capital, Kazan, hosting the 2013 University Games.
As part of its hiring plans for Russia, Cisco today announced that the Cisco Sales Associates Program (CSAP) is currently recruiting top graduates in Russia. CSAP is one of the most highly coveted early-in-career development programs designed specifically for top university graduates who aspire to become the next generation of leaders at Cisco. This year long program provides world-class, hands-on educational and experiential training that will develop our Associate Sales Representatives (ASRs) and Systems Engineers (ASEs) to become successful members of the Cisco Sales Organization.
As part of the phase 4 focus on go-to-market models to support the creation and success of start-ups, Cisco unveiled the results of the Skolkovo Innovation Award: Powered by Cisco I-Prize in June 2011. In a three-stage event, six finalists presented their projects at Moscow City International Business Center. The first prize, totaling 3 million rubles was awarded to a Moscow team whose project, “Strategy on Carpet,” transforms computer game fantasies into reality in the form of toy robots. The project later became a resident of Skolkovo
Cisco is also helping to establish six Entrepreneurship Institutes operating in Russia to support this Go-To Market phase. Working with local public and private sector organizations, Cisco’s mission is to help communities and nations harness the power of entrepreneurship for economic and social prosperity. Cisco and Skolkovo are working together towards the establishment of the Entrepreneur Institute with Skolkovo Technopark with the aim of training young Russian entrepreneurs in how to start and develop successful businesses in IT industry.
Consistent with the commitment to build a partnering model with local Russian companies outlined in phase 5, Cisco is also extending its collaborative approach with the Russian technology industry through local manufacturing initiatives that have already created over 100 high-tech jobs. Since March 2011, the company has established local manufacturing capabilities for virtual private network hardware solutions for the Russian market.
In the city of Tver, Cisco is also collaborating with a contract-manufacturing consortium including local sourcing of major components to produce IP set-top boxes for the cable TV market. Cisco is today announcing the latest manufacturing launch and availability of the popular 2911 series Integrated Services Router with local hardware assembly of its K9 bundle.
Additionally per its phase five commitment, Cisco is furthering its collaborative relationship with the Russian venture capital community. Cisco is a creator of and an investor in the Almaz/Cisco Venture Capital Fund. In June 2011, the Almaz/Cisco Fund signed an MOU with Skolkovo with a commitment to evaluate investments in Skolkovo resident companies. To date, the Almaz/Cisco Fund has invested in 12 companies, of which 2 have residency in Skolkovo, and another 3 are in the process of applying for residency. Cisco will continue to seek potential investments in Russian technology companies, both indirectly as well as directly into companies that will prove to be strategic to Cisco’s R&D efforts in Skolkovo.
Marthin De Beer, SVP Video and Collaboration Group, and Executive Sponsor for the Skolkovo Project at Cisco:
“Establishing a physical presence in Skolkovo will mark a major step forward in delivering on the phased plan we initiated during the Presidental visit to San Jose in June 2010. We are not only creating employment opportunities for the brightest talent in the Russian innovation economy, but also expanding Cisco’s global R&D efforts and building the foundation for our continued growth. Skolkovo is fast becoming a global hub for innovation and we are excited to be able to play a central role in its development and future success.”
Skolkovo Foundation President Viktor Vekselberg:
“Innovation in the Russian economy is rapidly gathering pace through our continued partnering and investment with Cisco. The creation of new high-tech, high-value jobs in the local economy solidifies the commitment of both Cisco and Skolkovo to drive innovation in Russia, while concomitantly building upon the competitive strength of Russians as it applies to computer science and mathematics. Here, as in other projects, Skolkovo is acting as a pan-Russian portal to technological excellence and young talent of relevance to our commercial partners.”
About the Skolkovo Foundation
The Skolkovo Foundation has the mandate from the Russian Government to help accelerate the transformation of Russia from a resource-intensive to an innovation-based economy through strategic partnerships with leading scientists and corporations (currently numbering over 369 companies and start-ups). The Foundation aims to strengthen the links between Russian and international science, technology, education, entrepreneurship and investment communities. To achieve this objective it is overseeing the creation of the Skolkovo Innovation Centre composed of five R&D clusters, a Technopark, the Skolkovo Institute of Technology (a new graduate research University established in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Skolkovo city, located near Moscow. Together these entities will establish a vibrant eco-system of technology innovation and entrepreneurship. The Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in May 2010 by the Russian Government with a grant of USD 5 billion. For more information: http://www.sk.ru/en
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