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Digital innovation powerhouse to open in Manchester

Post-accelerator and established technology companies will also benefit from the centre, which aims to support the growth of key innovation clusters in the North of England

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Manchester Science Partnership's central campus
Manchester Science Partnership's central campus

Cisco has joined forces with Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP) to establish a digital innovation centre in the city.


Mi-IDEA (Manchester Inspired – Innovation Digital Enterprise Alliance) will be located on MSP’s central campus and aims to accelerate digital innovation in the North of England.


The partnership will focus on the areas of smart cities, Internet of Things (IoT), digital healthcare and the digital creative sector.


In addition, the centre will offer post-accelerator and established technology companies a tailored programme to help develop confidence and capabilities as they scale up their businesses.


Cisco said the centre will support the growth of key innovation clusters in the North of England, and underlines its commitment to supporting British innovation, digitisation and the UK business economy as a whole.


“Mi-IDEA is a reflection of our long-term commitment to growing the digital technology sector in the region and the culmination of our partnership work with Cisco since the National Virtual Incubator was launched in 2012,” said Anne Dornan, head of innovation at Manchester Science Partnerships.


“In high growth sectors it’s vital to provide targeted and specialist support programmes with access to global supply chains in order to unlock the potential economic impact for the UK. Bringing together diverse partners from across public, private and academic sectors to drive innovation and economic growth is at the heart of MSP and a hugely rewarding endeavour. We are excited to see this project come to fruition.”


Set within No 1 MSP Central, a 70,000 sq ft office and lab development space in Manchester’s innovation district, Mi-IDEA will also function as a second site in the UK for Cisco CREATE. Cisco CREATE is a collaborative research function which works with industry partners, start-ups, government, research institutions and universities. It aims to find innovative, technology-based solutions to some of the most pressing real world challenges.


Cisco intends for the centre to be a ‘living lab’, showcasing its up-to-the-minute technology alongside the innovations of the companies in residence. It will provide an inspiring environment where public, academic and private sectors can work together to transform their industries, the company added.


“Mi-IDEA will be uniquely positioned to tap into local, national and international innovation ecosystems,” said Phil Smith, chief executive, Cisco UK & Ireland. “It will benefit from MSP’s existing partnerships across the region and be a key part of [our] national virtual incubator. We’re confident that Mi-IDEA will deliver a unique environment in which tech companies in Manchester can grow.”



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