Cisco: On a Mission to Digitally Transform India by Setting “Cisco thingQbator”
According to a recent study, only 34 per cent of India's 5 million graduates are employable in any industry.
Graduates from beyond the top 30-50 colleges of India just do not have the basic skills that one would expect from looking at their degrees or diplomas.
The challenge is to provide vocational training to almost 500 million people by 2022.
This is why there is a huge scope for the skill development business in India. Moreover, the government too is supporting this business by allocating resources to the private companies, who are participating in Skill India Mission.
Cisco, the US-based tech giant has come forward with its innovative thoughts and plans of setting up a network of “Cisco thingQbator” IoT makerspaces or innovation labs which will be set up in five academic institutions in India with the objective of digital skills development and entrepreneurship enablement among student communities.
Creating Scope for Better Future
Cisco is collaborating with the NASSCOM Foundation for the implementation of the program. The makerspaces will enable students to get hands-on with technology and conceive digital solutions to local problems.
The five academic institutions that have been chosen for the establishment of ‘thingQbator’ makerspaces are 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.
Dr Cauvery N.K, Professor & HOD, R V College of Engineering said “India is the youngest start-up and developer nation in the world, with 72% of the founders being less than 35 years old and the average developer aged less than 29 years. Hence, there lies an opportunity to make huge gains because of this demographic dividend.”
Dr Cauvery added, “Through our collaboration with Cisco on the Centre of Excellence in the Internet of Things, we aim to shape the careers of thousands of students through specialized curriculum and quality infrastructure. We are thrilled to work with Cisco to create a pipeline of skilled students in India, enhance the employability of fresh graduates and create a marketplace for high-value technology-based careers.”
Launching A Generation of Entrepreneurs
Cisco is also supporting N/Core, an incubator for social sector startups, 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.
Harish Krishnan, Managing Director, Public Affairs & Strategic Engagements, Cisco India & SAARC said “For India to compete in the global economy, strategic collaboration between businesses, governments and non-governmental organizations is critical. At Cisco, our collaborations and programs are focused on harnessing the power of technology to support and launch a generation of problem solvers who will innovate like technologists, think like entrepreneurs and act as social change agents.”
Empowering New Generation Innovators
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.
Sudha Srinivasan, CEO, N/Core, said “Our aim is to empower a new generation of innovators who are imagining solutions to some of the biggest social challenges. When innovators apply technology to a higher purpose of improving human lives, and visionary CSR leaders like Cisco step up to support their aspirations, it becomes possible to re-imagine a future of inclusive development, where no Indian is left behind."
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.