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Cisco offers $10m prize in small biz bingo

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Cisco is launching a global contest to find great business or technology ideas.

The "I-Prize" will include the chance to help Cisco start a new business unit along with $10m in funding over the first three years. There is also a $250,000 signing bonus.

The prize was launched as part of the opening of Cisco's centre in Bangalore, India. The centre currently has 3,000 employees, but Cisco hopes to increase this to 10,000 by 2010. Cisco is working with Indian outsourcing firm Wipro to jointly develop service products.

Judges are looking for an idea that can generate at least $1bn in revenue over five to seven years. Criteria are likely to be similar to those Cisco uses to judge its own internal ideas. Entries must use the IP network in some way. It is open to anyone over 18 who is not a Cisco employee or has a family member who is.

Categories include: green tech, consumer electronics, data centre technologies, mobility and wireless, and new business models.

The website allows you to promote or demote ideas you like or dislike. Current contenders include: networked digital photo frames, wireless monitor cables, an online listing and rating system for doctors, and a plan to monitor pacemakers via Wi-Fi networks.

Applications must be in by 15 January. There follows a second phase for semi finalists to collaborate on refining their ideas until 29 February. Teams chosen for the final round will then have from 15 March until 30 April before presenting their ideas to the judging panel of Cisco staffers and "industry luminaries".

To get your application in, or to see some of the ideas that have already entered, go here. ®

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