Groundbreaking cyber startup scheme

A new scheme has been announced as part of the government programme to develop the UK’s cyber security capability.

The nine-month programme will see GCHQ collaborate with industry expertise to develop new cyber security technology, and the government is asking cyber security entreprenuers and start up firms to join the programme.

This is the second programme under the GCHQ Cyber Accelerator scheme, which has been extended from three to nine months due to its success.

The programme is an integral part of developing UK cyber security capability. The expanded programme will give start-ups more time with the world-class personnel and technological expertise of staff from across GCHQ, including the National Cyber Security Centre, enabling them to expand their capability, improve their ideas, and devise cutting-edge products.

The accelerator programme is a collaboration between the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), GCHQ, the NCSC, and will be delivered by Wayra UK. It is designed to help firms turn their ideas into products and services, enabling them to contribute to the growing cyber industry in the UK, which was worth some £22Bn in 2015.

Selected startups will receive benefits to help them scale all aspects of their businesses, including office space, mentoring and contact with an extensive investor network.

Minister for Digital Matt Hancock said: “We are working hard to make Britain the best place to start and grow a digital business and the safest place to be online.

“The GCHQ Cyber Accelerator is a vital part of this work and has already helped some of the most innovative cyber security startups develop cutting-edge new products and services.

“I’m pleased to announce the programme is being extended and encourage the nation’s talented entrepreneurs to apply.”

Earlier this year, seven start-ups graduated from the accelerator’s first programme and to date they have collectively raised more than £2.7M in investment, including follow-on contracts with major companies such as Cisco.

The firms which took part were CounterCraft, CyberOwl, CyberSmart, Elemendar, Spherical Defence, StatusToday and Verimuchme.

Chris Ensor, NCSC Deputy Director of Cyber Skills and Growth, said: “Cyber Accelerator represents a massive opportunity to collaborate with cutting edge companies to drive forward the government’s ambitious programme of innovation that is helping to protect the UK from evolving cyber threats.”

Gary Stewart, Director of Wayra UK, said: “Improving cyber security is one of the most important challenges that we face, whether as large corporates, SMEs or individual citizens. We are eager to accelerate the growth of the next generation of cybersecurity startups, in partnership with GCHQ, DCMS and our colleagues at Telefónica. The goal is that the start-ups will scale up and we will all be more secure online.”


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