Cisco Start Challenge Empowering Small & Medium Business to Digitise
Cisco Australia & New Zealand
General Manager, Small Medium Busines
Technology, Innovation, Collaboration, Data Centres, Security
July shaped up to be a great month for Cisco Small and Medium Business, as we announced our dedicated strategy for Australian SMBs and further commitment to supporting them on their digitisation journey.
As part of this commitment, the Cisco team delivered a triumphant pitching competition as part of the inaugural Cisco Start Challenge. The first pitching competition of its kind for Cisco in Australia, the Cisco Start Challenge brought together the SMB community, customers, partners and journalists, to uncover Cisco’s specialised portfolio of security, networking, collaboration and storage solutions, and how these support the big business ambitions of our Australian SMBs.
Centered around addressing the top three business priorities for SMBs and startups around reducing costs, gaining operational efficiency and improving productivity, the Cisco Start Challenge was created to provide small businesses with the opportunity to pitch for a digital transformation that would help them to stay head of the technology curve and support them as they grow.
Knowing how transformational our Cisco Start portfolio can be when it comes to adding value for small businesses in these priority areas, we wanted to use the Cisco Start Challenge as an opportunity to engage with the SMB community, educate them on our product portfolio and how it offers simple, secure and reliable enterprise-class end-to-end solutions for their businesses.
Held amongst the entrepreneurial startup community at shared workspace, WeWork Pyrmont, the event saw five finalist SMBs across Australia pitch their business plans to a panel of judges, which included avid small business supporters David Koch, co-host of morning show Sunrise, and Fred Schebesta, CEO of Finder.com.au, as well as Cori Drogemuller, Head of Communications at Cisco ANZ and Raymond Janse van Rensburg, Director of Systems Engineering at Cisco ANZ.
Each of the finalists Space Ops, JAR Aerospace, Smart Paddock, Stratafy, and Advisr had five minutes to deliver compelling pitches, taking the audience on a journey through their business plans, aspirations and how the prize could transform their business. Following each pitch, the finalists were faced with a challenging round of questioning from the judging panel, where the company’s merits and project feasibility were put to the test.
After much deliberation, the judging panel crowned newly founded tech startup, JAR Aerospace as the winner; taking home a $40,000 Cisco security and networking prize. JAR Aerospace manages the development and manufacturing of purpose-built Unmanned Aerial Vehicles with the functional capabilities to service large scale industrial processes. The company has high aspirations with its ultimate goal to become the frontier for manned and unmanned space exploration from Australia.
The team at JAR Aerospace will receive access to Cisco Start Security First and Connect portfolio to be deployed by KNet Technology; our fulfilling partners on this project.
Speaking about the win, Co-founder and COO Samuel Lewinson, who pitched and handled the Q&A sessions, said: “It’s very exciting to win the Cisco Start Challenge, and it really does validate our ideas and concepts. Thanks to Cisco, this prize will help our company to transform the current systems we work on and accelerate our growth. “The technology will allow us to collaborate with our global partners more effectively and improve the way we do business generally from an operational perspective.”
The Cisco SMB team are excited to work closely with JAR Aerospace to assist in navigating their digital posture and to leverage marketing opportunities around the partnership to elevate the Cisco Start portfolio in Australia. Stay tuned!