Cisco has announced the winner of its inaugural BIG Awards, an initiative to discover and reward innovative technology start-ups and SMEs in the UK.
The winner is start-up business Snap Fashion, which allows users to search for clothing items via a visual search engine. Users can take a photograph of a piece of clothing using their phone and the app will scan more than 110 UK fashion retailers to find a match.
Jenny Griffiths, Founder and CEO of Snap Fashion was presented with a cheque for $100,000, also winning a prize package consisting of $30,000 worth of marketing support, $30,000 worth of PR support and a further $15,000 in legal.
“To win a competition like the Cisco BIG Awards is just amazing. I’m particularly excited about the fact we get PR and marketing support because it’s something we have been wanting for ages,” said Griffiths.
“The money will also help us to make key new hires and grow the team, allowing us to really take Snap Fashion to the next level in the UK. The competition was incredibly tough so I’m delighted that the judges thought Snap Fashion was a winning idea.”
The winner was announced following a live Dragon’s Den style pitch by six BIG Award finalists, and two runners up also received prizes.
Digital Shadows, which came second, was awarded a cheque to the value of $25,000, and Six3, which came third, was awarded a cheque for $10,000. Both will also receive 12 month packages of business support from Cisco and legal advice from Bird & Bird.
Judges on the panel included Phil Smith, CEO Cisco UK and Ireland; Mark Kimber, CTO EMEA, JP Morgan Chase; John Harris, Global head of IT Strategy at GSK; Jon Lonsdale, MD of PR firm Octopus Communications; Richard Eaton, Partner at legal practice Bird & Bird and Drew Nicholson, MD of marketing consultancy DNX.
“Each of the entries this year demonstrated impressive entrepreneurial spirit and skill, which is a testament to how much undiscovered talent lies in the UK,” said Smith. “We’re looking forward to working more closely with all of our winners and seeing what the future holds for them.”
The BIG Awards are a core component of Cisco’s British Innovation Gateway initiative, designed to encourage the advancement of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) skills, and give SMEs the opportunity to grow their businesses by connecting them with investors and other entrepreneurs.
The initiative is part of Cisco's Olympic legacy plans, which also involve setting up innovation centres around the country, equipped with Cisco’s own networking and collaboration technology.
These centres will form a public technology network known as the National Virtual Incubator (NVI), supported by the UK's education and research network Janet.