Five companies have given their backing to an internet of things (IoT) competition being run by the UK government.

Cisco, Bosch, British Gas, RPD International and Fab Lab London were today announced as partners of the £1m Internet of Things Launchpad competition, which is being run by government agencies Tech City UK and the Technology Strategy Board, and industry forum Cambridge Wireless. The cohort of companies join existing partners EE, John Lewis, Unilever, Seedcamp and Red Gate. 

First announced by David Cameron at the CEBIT conference in March, the competition aims to support early stage IoT start-ups or SMEs based in London and Cambridge.

Competition winners will receive a share of the £1 million funding grant and access to the expertise and business support of the partners.

Cisco said it will offer successful candidates access to engineering, marketing and sales experts, Cisco DevNet and Cisco Solution Partner Programme and potential introductions to relevant customers and partners. Cisco also pledged to provide incubation opportunities at IDEALondon and access to its National Virtual Incubator, in particular the virtual link between Cambridge and London.  

Tom Kneen, head of business development at Cisco UK & Ireland, said: “Cisco has a strong focus on the IoT globally and we see the UK playing a leading role in developing, creating and realising this exciting new Global market opportunity. By being involved in the Launchpad we hope to uncover emerging new talent that we can nurture and accelerate through a variety of the programmes that we already run in the UK.”

Bosch said it will offer business, mentoring and marketing support as well as possible investment to any suitable winners.

RPD International has pledged to give marketing, mentoring and business support, in addition to helping with the design and the manufacturing of the winner’s products. 

Fab Lab London said it will provide space and facilities for winners to create their IoT product.

Tech City UK CEO Gerard Grech said: ““Working with early stage startups, these companies will provide the mentoring and financial support needed for successful acceleration. Their activity will greatly aid our aim to create an IoT ‘super-cluster’, drawing on the software and marketing expertise of London and the hardware and network expertise of Cambridge”.

The competition is open to all European entrepreneurs, as long as their company is registered in the UK and has a working connection with either the London or Cambridge tech clusters. Closing date for submissions is 3 September 2014.

Analyst house Gartner predicts there will be nearly 26 billion devices connected to the internet of things by 2020.