News Release

Chile Teams Up with Cisco Entrepreneur Institute to Foster Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

Cisco Kicks Off Initiative Under Agreement with Chilean Ministry of the Economy
Nov 07, 2008

SANTIAGO, Chile, November 7, 2008 - Cisco today announced the establishment of the Cisco® Entrepreneur Institute in Chile to help entrepreneurs from small and medium-sized businesses improve their business skills and learn how to use information technology. The first tree training centers will be Acción Emprendedora, DUOC UC, and Inacap. The Cisco Entrepreneur Institute is supported by the Chilean government and is scheduled to open its doors in March 2009.

The Cisco Entrepreneur Institute and its partner organizations expect to train close to 800 entrepreneurs and to have 26 more institutes in operation in Chile within the next 12 months. Lessons, which will describe practices of successful entrepreneurs, will be delivered through a combination of e-learning, classroom attendance and audiovisual material. Students will have access to Web 2.0 technologies and advanced open-source tools such as Moodle and will also use collaboration technologies such as Cisco WebEx® for a rich learning experience.

"IT is a basic ingredient for productivity. This kind of Public-Private initiative, like the Cisco Entrepreneur Institute, show the country's commitment and continued effort to foster SMBs ability to compete", said Hugo Lavados, Minister of Economy. "Entrepreneurs and SMB owners now have a curriculum available that provides true value to their professional career as businessmen, including how to start a business, how to grow it and iExec; the latter consisting on how to use different technologies to add business value".

Guillermo Moya, the general manager of Cisco Chile, said: "The entrepreneurial spirit in Chile is gaining momentum quickly, and the ability to help achieve its maximum potential by encouraging diversification and innovation will be a key contributor to socio-economic prosperity. Cisco is delighted to be a part of the combined efforts of the government, ACTI and Foro Pro Innovación, by sponsoring initiatives such as the Cisco Entrepreneur Institute toward the country's development."

The Entrepreneur Institute falls within the framework of the agreement between Cisco and the Ministry of the Economy of Chile, Foro Pro Innovación and the Asociación Chilena de Empresas de Tecnologías de la Información (Chilean Association of Information Technology Companies, or ACTI), signed in October 2007. The agreement seeks to contribute to the development of small and medium-sized businesses through the use of information technology, better broadband penetration and knowledge sharing.

The institute's workshops are based on the experiences of successful entrepreneurs, business leaders and leading companies, combined with Cisco's practical knowledge acquired over 22 years of technology-enabled business expertise. The institute uses world-class teaching resources, with lesson content derived from sources such as Stanford University, Cornell University and My Own Business Inc., a nonprofit organization with more than 15 years of experience in supporting the creation of successful businesses.

Educational and industry associations will create special programs for the Entrepreneur Institute and even integrate its modules into their own programs. The Cisco Entrepreneur Institute will have an independent advisory council made up of representatives from government, academia and business leaders, to maintain high standards.

Cisco Entrepreneur Institute's courses are available in five languages: Arabic, English, Polish, Spanish and Ukrainian. Cisco is also sponsoring the development of an innovative open-source Web 2.0 platform to enable fast on-demand translation and localization of the course contents.

In the next 12 months, Cisco aims to establish institutes in other emerging-market countries. Cisco Entrepreneur Institutes have already trained more than 200 young businesspeople in Poland, Hungary, Egypt, Jordan and Serbia.