Cisco has launched a competition for entrepreneurs called I-Prize, the same day it opened a "globalisation centre" in Bangalore for international developer collaboration.

Under the rules of the competition, entrants must tuse the networking vendor’s IP platform to work together on business ideas that have the potential, in Cisco's estimation, to generate at least $1bn (£481m) extra revenue for the company within five to seven years.

To make this happen, the firm will where necessary provide access to collaboration tools such as WebEx Meeting Centre and WebOffice, as well as to the TelePresence meeting rooms around the world.

The winning team could be given the opportunity to join the company and found a new emerging technology unit in which Cisco is considering investing up to $10m (£4.8m) over three years.

The company said the rise of internet-driven collaboration technologies provided an opportunity to help innovators build their ideas into viable businesses. Using global networking, Cisco hoped to find a range of business ideas from participants around the world.

Marthin DeBeer, senior VP at Cisco's emerging technologies group, said: "There are large parts of the world where inventors and entrepreneurs don't have ready access to venture capital or other means of funding, but they have excellent ideas. We want to give those innovators an outlet.”