Cisco will fork out $61 million over the next three years to invest in digital transformation projects in Australia, promote STEM skill development and take advantage of critical infrastructure.
The IT giant announced the investment as part of its Country Digital Acceleration program, which will see Cisco work with the Australian government, industries and community organisations.
The program will cover four key areas focusing on "growth, skills development and innovation in industries where Australia is placed to be a global leader."
The first area is digital government, which will introduce education programs for schools and higher education, health, infrastructure and other government departments.
Next is digital industry programs to collaborate with local companies, particularly mining and agriculture, to develop digital capabilities that Cisco hopes will have a positive impact on Australia's GDP.
Third is digital SMB programs like investing in start-ups, entrepreneurs and venture funds in the hopes of creating new SMBs and giving them access to digital technologies.
Last is national infrastructure development, such as supporting services that stem from the NBN, 5G, IoT and AI.
Cisco has already announced partnerships with organisations that promote STEM skills with multi-year investments such as AUSTEM2020, Mentor Me, Women Rock-IT and Girls Power Tech.
Cisco Australia and New Zealand vice president Ken Boal said that more needed to be done if Australia wants to keep up with the pace of innovation worldwide.
"If we don’t invest equally, Australia will run the risk of losing its position near the top of international league tables. Cisco is ready and willing to help Australia keep its place at that top table,” Boal said.
“By partnering with government, academia and industry to co-innovate in the areas aligned to Australia’s strengths, we have the capability to accelerate change through these investments, leading to an increase in productivity, growth and sustainable long term development that ultimately improves the digital readiness of Australia.”