Cisco has taken another step forward in its five-year plan to plough $1bn (£701m) into the UK's tech sector with the launch of a major innovation centre in the North of England.
The global IT giant has formed a joint venture with the public-private enterprise Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP) to open the Mi-IDEA (Manchester Inspired - Innovation Digital Enterprise Alliance) innovation centre on MSP's central campus.
The centre, which is planned to open in early 2017, will work with early-stage companies in the North to develop "innovative technologies and solutions", focusing especially on smart cities, Internet of Things (IoT), digital healthcare and the digital creative sector.
It will also offer post-accelerator and established technology companies a tailored programme to help develop the confidence and necessary capabilities as they scale.
Mi-IDEA will be Cisco’s second start-up focused innovation centre in the UK. It follows the success of IDEALondon, launched in 2013 by David Cameron as a partnership between Cisco, UCL and DC Thompson in Tech City.
Start-ups based at the London centre have raised more than £20m in funding and created more than 120 jobs.
London recently overtook New York and Shanghai in a global ranking of top tech cities thanks to its "incredible entrepreneurial attitude".
The tech company, which employs more than 7,000 people in the UK, announced last summer it planned to invest $1bn in multiple investments across the technology sector within the next three to five years.