BIG business has a vital role to play in boosting the UK’s pool of talented start-ups – Andy Chew, Head of Architectures at Cisco UK&I

The Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to contribute as much as 11 per cent of the world economy by 2025 according to a report from McKinsey.  Our recent Cisco report also revealed that today’s start-up community is estimated to make over £100 billion from the Internet of Everything (IoE) by the end of the year – this revenue potential stretches across verticals with huge opportunity in areas such as retail, manufacturing, energy, transport and healthcare.

Yet very rarely can start-ups achieve success on their own. Building a small business from scratch to a situation, whether through size or stability, where it has a real chance to reap the potential financial benefits of the IoE takes hard graft and often, a boost along the way, whether through grants, investors or advice from mentors.

Those entrepreneurs who make it with their chosen businesses tend to have a mix of qualities, such as openness, adaptability and flexibility that are vital in order to allow the business to evolve and thrive. We saw many of these qualities and more in this year’s Cisco British Innovation Gateway (BIG) Awards finalists. From a clear understanding of their market to their commitment to innovation, they each displayed confidence, integrity and a strong product roadmap.

Take, for example, the 2015 winner Nwave Technologies. The company has created a wireless network platform for M2M communications and the IoE that provides low-cost, low-power communications between devices and the cloud. As Nwave look to take that crucial next business step, they now have the opportunity to capitalise on mentoring, advice and services from Cisco and its partners to help them get there as quickly and successfully as possible.

It is also critical that they have the drive and ambition to think big and believe in the opportunity for large-scale success, something that in the UK we are often shy to demonstrate. Yet it’s only by clearly articulating a company vision and delivering with passion, whether to investors, customers, employees or peers, will those outside your business have a chance to see the potential that you see.

Once again, the Cisco BIG Awards demonstrated to me that we have some incredible start-ups in the UK that have real potential to solve real problems and change the way we live, yet they can’t do it alone. To benefit from the potential IoE market, they need a chance to be heard, seen and a healthy dose of financial support. Big organisations, like Cisco, have a real role to play here in supporting the next small businesses, not only through capital, but with mentoring programmes that help to share the wealth of knowledge that can help a small business over the hurdles it has to climb to succeed.

Only then will businesses – such as Nwave – have the platform to move forwards and play a critical role, alongside much larger companies, in establishing the UK as the leader of the digital revolution.

For more information on the British Innovation Gateway Awards and how Cisco is investing in the start-up community please follow this link – or for more insight on Cisco’s involvement in championing innovation and small businesses, read Andy Chew’s latest blog called Pitch@Palace 4.0 – Innovation in action –  

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