A group of twenty UK tech start-ups are close to getting their hands on a $200,000 (£128,000) cash prize that will go to the winner of Cisco’s British Innovation Gateway (BIG) awards.

The annual competition, now in its second year, has been narrowed down to 20 semi-finalists across four categories – Big Data, Internet of Things, collaboration and mobility.

Semi-finalists will be introduced to their mentors tonight at London’s Hospital Club. The mentors will support them in the lead up to October 1, when the six finalists will be announced. The final event on November 14 will see the six finalists present their business plans live to a judging panel.

The Cisco BIG Awards aim to reward the UK's most innovative start-up digital businesses and SMEs with an investment of cash, technology and human resources. This means that in addition to the $200,000, the overall winner will receive 12 months of mentoring and advice from Cisco and its partners, including PR, marketing, HR and legal services.

The 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 also part of Cisco's Olympic legacy plans, which involve setting up innovation centres around the country, equipped with Cisco’s own networking and collaboration technology.

Phil Smith, CEO of Cisco UK and Ireland said: “The calibre of the entries has been outstanding and reflects just a snapshot of great British technological ingenuity. Cisco BIG Awards aim to discover and foster innovation and talent, and in these twenty semi-finalists I believe we have found some of the nation's rising stars."

Last year the prize went to Snap Fashion – a virtual search engine for fashionistas.

The full shortlist for this year’s awards is below.

Big Data
• Adzuna
• DataBarter
• Presence Aware Tech
• Intern Avenue
• iWaz.at
• EnergyDeck
• Whisk.com
• Actual Experience

Internet of Everything
• uMotif
• BleepBleeps
• Smartzer
• Tictrac
• SupaDupa
• Zovolt Ltd
• Sleepio Ltd

• Movellas Ltd
• OpenPlan
• Lutebox

• Bounts Limited
• TringLocal