News Release

Cisco Announces Skolkovo Innovation Award

Contest Aims to Incubate Innovation in Russia and Help Boost National Economic Competitiveness
Nov 22, 2010

SAN JOSE, Calif., and MOSCOW – November 22, 2010 - Cisco and the Skolkovo Foundation today unveiled further details of the Skolkovo Innovation Award: Powered by Cisco I-Prize, a competition for entrepreneurs, innovators, students and technologists who are both citizens and residents of the Russian Federation to help set the pace for innovation in Russia.

Announced recently during Cisco Expo Russia, the Skolkovo Innovation Award will solicit technology ideas in three specific areas: energy efficiency, healthcare and information technology. The award will grant three monetary prizes to the winning teams that can be used to invest in their ideas.

Powered by the Cisco I-Prize innovation contest, a global competition to help identify a major new business opportunity for Cisco, this contest is intended to attract talent and ideas that have the potential to become start-up ventures that could be based in the new 'Technopolis Skolkovo'.


  • The Skolkovo Innovation Award: Powered by Cisco I-Prize begins mid-November and will run for approximately five months. During the first three months, the Cisco team will collect new ideas through a community website. These ideas will be filtered and judged on the quality of the submission, the Russian market opportunity, and the transformational nature of the submission. The top 24 teams will be invited to develop their ideas further for a panel that will judge them during the last two months of the contest.
  • The Skolkovo Innovation Award is open to individuals and teams of Russian citizenship or who are permanently residing in the Russian Federation.
  • There are three Grand Prizes to be awarded to winning individuals or teams: The first prize will be 3,000,000 Russian Rubles. The second prize will be 1,500,000 Russian Rubles and the third prize is 750,000 Russian Rubles. Every prize will be shared equally among the winning team members
  • Each of the 24 competing teams in the first round will receive a Flip Video® camera and Cisco WebExTM collaboration capabilities. These tools will allow the contestant teams, especially ones with members in remote locations, to work collaboratively on their submissions. All teams will be required to make their submissions on video.
  • Finalist teams will present their submissions live to panel of judges. The final round will be a combination of face-to-face and Cisco TelePresence® presentations to a panel of judges that will select three winners.
  • All finalist teams are paired with a mentor who will spend a minimum of two hours with the teams in an advisory role.
  • The Skolkovo Innovation Award is another milestone in the commitment Cisco made to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during his recent visit to Cisco headquarters in San Jose, Calif., in June this year. 
  • The first Cisco I-Prize contest was launched during the opening of Cisco's Globalisation Center in Bangalore, India, in October 2007. The contest invited entrepreneurs from all over the world to join a collaborative online forum where they could brainstorm and comment on innovative business and technology ideas, form teams, and draft business plans for a chance to join Cisco and help develop their business ideas. Within the first three months of its introduction, the contest attracted more than 2,500 entrepreneurs from 104 countries. The most recent contest was won by an international team of two Russians and a German.
  • Complete terms, conditions and eligibility requirements are available on the contest site at

Executive Quotes

  • Marthin De Beer, senior vice president, Emerging Technologies Group for Cisco
  • "We are looking forward to seeing how teams from different parts of Russia will work together on business and technology ideas using Cisco's collaborative technology. I am confident that this contest will demonstrate how innovation can play a major role and contribute to the growth and development of the Russian economy."

  • Paul Betsis, general director, Cisco Russia
  • "We are delighted to see the success of Cisco's I-Prize contest being replicated on a local level. The use of various Cisco collaboration technologies, and the company's  participation in the 'Idea Market' around the world, demonstrated that distance does not have to be an obstacle to drive innovation."

  • Oleg Alexeyev, deputy president of the Fund for the Development of Russia's Center for Elaboration and Commercialization of New Technologies
  • "This is a practical implementation of the MoU signed in June by the Skolkovo Foundation and Cisco during President Medvedev's visit to California. We are glad to collaborate with Cisco on an initiative that is in sync with national programs aimed at Russia's transformation through innovations. Russia has lots of talented people, and this contest will help at least some of them fulfill their potential, in such crucial areas as energy efficiency, health care and strategic computing, which will ultimately benefit our nation."

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