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Cisco has announced plans to invest $100m in India, including $40m to fund early-stage and growth-stage companies and train 250,000 students in India by 2020.

Cisco says it will collaborate closely with state governments in India on strategic initiatives including the addition of six new innovation labs, three centers of expertise, funded university collaborations and skills investments. The new activities form part of its global 'Country Digitization Acceleration' ""whereby select countries across the world receive major strategic investment to accelerate existing government goals for driving economic growth through high-tech innovation.""

Cisco has set a goal of creating a pipeline of 250,000 skilled students in India by 2020 and a marketplace for high-value technology-based careers. The company will expand the Cisco Networking Academy program to help India increase its pool of highly skilled technology professionals and expand its accessibility to education, research and technology.

Cisco's focus for its $40m investment into early-stage and growth stage companies will be on next-generation technologies such as security, cloud and the Internet of Things and on digital plays in smart cities, financial services, healthcare and e-governance.

Cisco's says its strategy is to have an active role at all stages of startup development: from identification, creation of incubators and accelerator programs, to directly and indirectly funding the most promising digital startups across India. ""Cisco will provide the opportunity for companies and the innovation ecosystem to build businesses, innovate and go global with digital solution,"" the company says.

Cisco intends to launch six innovation labs, three centers of expertise and funded university collaborations, across select states in India that will offer opportunities for diverse groups of entrepreneurs, start-ups, accelerators, developers, researchers, ecosystem partners and the venture community to build businesses and innovate in digital technologies, smart cities and the Internet of Things.

""Cisco's vision is to combine the best of academia with real-world collaborations to create a virtuous cycle of innovation that will accelerate the digital transformation of states and help shape the success of India,"" the company said.

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