Mi-IDEA, the place to bee – Cisco and Manchester Science Partnerships open a hive of their own in the heart of the city’s innovation district

Manchester, UK, 22nd September – In the city that takes the bee as its symbol, we’ve been building our own hive of innovation. Today, Cisco and Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP) announce the opening of Mi-IDEA, a new post-accelerator centre in the heart of Manchester’s innovation district. The centre aims to help digital tech start-ups flourish and be a catalyst for co-innovation between businesses, academia and the government in the North of England.

Focused on developing the next generation of entrepreneurs and encouraging businesses to accelerate their digital thinking, Mi-IDEA gives start-ups the space and support to grow – on their terms. Without restrictions and without equity, the post-accelerator offers a carefully crafted programme with access to opportunities for new business, partnerships, product development, finance and talent.

Located in the Bright Building, a new 70,000 sq ft development, in Manchester Science Park which also opens today, the Mi-IDEA partnership combines Cisco’s unrivalled tech heritage, global reach and the ability to develop new solutions at pace, with MSP’s deep experience of fostering co-innovation in Manchester and bringing partners together to affect real change.

Mi-IDEA is already home to six innovative start-ups including Hark, the IoT data capture, monitor and analysis pioneer and Wattl, a video platform, providing a unique and novel way to discover new content. A smart building in itself, the facility is also a centre of operations for CityVerve, the UK’s Internet of Things smart city demonstrator, as well as the home of the Cisco UK and Ireland Innovation team.

As part of a global network of Cisco innovation centres, which includes IDEALondon, Mi-IDEA offers its residents the opportunity to network with other start-ups, connect to investors, and collaborate with potential customers focused on digital acceleration, in the UK and around the world.

Jake Berry, Northern Powerhouse Minister said “Greater Manchester is home to world-class digital innovators and entrepreneurs and I am delighted to have been at the opening of its latest success story, Mi-IDEA and the Bright Building, which will focus on supporting collaborative innovation in Greater Manchester and across the Northern Powerhouse.  The Government understands just how important digital and creative sectors are to ensuring the North, and the UK more widely, remains a global powerhouse of digital economic activity.”

Scot Gardner, Chief Executive of Cisco UK & Ireland added “Innovation is fundamental to the future of any digital economy, but it cannot prosper in isolation. Mi-IDEA is a hive of co-innovation, fostering collaboration between industry, government and academia; we’re excited for what it will bring to Manchester and look forward to seeing the start-ups at the centre flourish as we expand our relationship with MSP in this new venture.”

Rowena Burns, Chief Executive, Manchester Science Partnerships said, “We are proud and delighted to launch both our stunning new Bright Building and Mi-IDEA, which we are sure will be a fantastic engine for growth in Manchester’s digital sector. Our partnership with Cisco will give these exciting young, entrepreneurial businesses a fantastic chance of success thanks to the brilliant technology here and the supportive and collaborative community they will find in both the Bright Building and across MSP’s campuses.”

Inspired by the powerful combination of innovation and IoT, at the launch of Mi-IDEA, Cisco is supporting the bees with backpacks initiative. Putting trackable RFID backpacks on bees, Cisco is working with Data61|CSIRO to build on the established project in Sydney, Australia and join the Global Initiative for Honey bee Health (GIHH).

In conjunction with local organisations in Manchester, the programme will use innovative technology to conduct research into bee habitats, pollination and sustainability in the UK. You can also read more about The Connected Bee initiative here.

Today’s announcement is the latest example of Cisco’s commitment to support digitisation in the UK. Cisco’s digitisation strategy is a long-term partnership with government, industry and academia to deliver real outcomes faster and more effectively for the country. It is part of Cisco’s global commitment to accelerating digitisation of countries around the world. For further examples, please visit the Cisco Newsroom.