Cisco has set up a $100m initiative to support Italian startups and provide training to students and teachers in the country.

US-based networking equipment maker Cisco announced a three-year, $100m initiative yesterday to invest in Italy-based technology startups and offer training to students and teachers through its Cisco Networking Academy.

Cisco will identify potential investees with the help of Invitalia Ventures, a venture capital firm owned by the Italian government’s National Agency for the Attraction of Investments and Enterprise Development.

Invitalia raised $56m for a technology fund in October 2015, though it has not revealed whether Cisco is backing the fund directly.

The training will be offered through a deal inked with the Ministry of Education, University and Research. The two partners hope to equip students with the digital skills required in the modern-day workforce, focusing on cybersecurity and other industry 4.0 technologies.

Cisco will also invest in local research and development, providing funding for its Cisco Photonics laboratories, which develop optical networking technologies, and will seek collaborations with universities and support the digitalisation of the manufacturing and agrifood sectors.

The commitments were announced following a meeting between the country’s prime minister Matteo Renzi, Cisco chief executive Chuck Robbins and Cisco Italy general manager Agostino Santoni.

Robbins said: “Through our increased investments, Cisco will develop an ecosystem of talent, entrepreneurship and innovation to accelerate Italy’s digital journey and help them realise the unprecedented opportunity ahead.”

– This article first appeared on our sister site Global Corporate Venturing.