Cisco has extended the deadline for its British Innovation Gateway (BIG) Awards to 1 May 2012, giving entrepreneurs and SMEs more time to submit their technology concept or prototype idea.

Launched on 1 February, the BIG Awards take the form of an annual open innovation competition. The competition is open to all early age startups and entrepreneurs within the UK over the age of 18.

Applicants can enter their idea into one of five categories – Big Data (including data centre/virtualisation), collaboration (including video and social media), Future Cities, Internet of Things and mobility.

Cisco said that, for each category, the entry should showcase how the concept can benefit the public and private sector, using the network as a platform to deliver economic, social and environmental sustainability.

The overall winner will receive a total prize package of approximately $200,000 (£124,000), made up of £63,000 cash, 12 months of mentoring from Cisco, and a 12-month support package covering PR, marketing and legal services.

To enter the competition, entrants must register online here. The deadline was originally set for 31 March, but has now been extended to midnight on 1 May. The final of the Awards will take place on 12 September, where the six finalists will present their business plans live to a judging panel.

“There is a huge pool of untapped talent in the UK and we’ve already seen some fantastic entries so far,” said Phil Smith, CEO of Cisco UK and Ireland. “The annual BIG Awards enable us to uncover, celebrate, recognise and reward the UK’s best innovators and if you are a startup or SME in the digital sector, this is a fantastic opportunity to showcase your business.”