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Tech Nation launches its first cyber security scale-up accelerator programme

Tech Nation hopes the accelerator programme will boost the UK's digital security sector

The UK-based entrepreneurial network Tech Nation has launched its first national cyber security scale-up programme to accelerate the growth of the country’s leading startups and to boost the digital security sector.

Starting in April 2019, Cyber is seeking applicants from fast-growth startups across the UK to tackle the growing risks associated with the increasing frequency of cyber attacks.

According to Tech Nation, there were an estimated 30 million cyber attacks in the last three months of 2018 alone.

Tech Nation also highlight how the scope and reach of cyber attacks is set to grow even further as new vulnerabilities are created by the rapid development of emerging technologies, such as the internet of things (IoT).

“To stay ahead of cyber threats, it is crucial we support and promote our world-class cyber security industry,” said digital minister Margot James. “Tech Nation’s new programme will not only help young businesses to expand, but ensure our thriving cyber sector continues to grow.”

There are currently more than 800 cyber security businesses based in the UK, 89% of which are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Tech Nation hopes that accelerating the growth of the country’s leading startups will help to boost the UK’s overall digital security sector.

“This is both an important and exciting time for the UK digital security industry,” said Gerard Grech, CEO of Tech Nation.

“The UK is an acknowledged leader in cyber security and many successful businesses – large and small – are headquartered here. But it can be a challenging marketplace for young businesses that are seeking to expand.”

Ollie Bone, cyber lead at tech Nation, added: “What we have put together is a programme that will help businesses on the cohort move up to the next level.

“Making the transition from startup to scale-up requires founders and managers to develop new and often challenging personal and business skills. But scaling up also involves reaching out and making connections across the security industry itself and in the customer marketplace.”

The programme will therefore give the startups access to scaling experts that will address issues such as creating and maintaining culture; hiring and nurturing talent; developing leadership skills; raising capital; and international expansion.

There will also be a series of masterclasses on a number of core business issues and multiple networking sessions designed around peer-to-peer learning.

At the end of the process, successful startups will also get the chance to take part in a showcase trip organised in conjunction with the Department of International Trade.

Applications for the programme will close on 4 March, after which the 20 most promising startups will be selected by a cross-industry panel of judges made up of cyber security experts from both the public and private sectors.

Judges include Seb Wallace, investor at Triple Point Ventures; Andy Williams, a government security advisor and CEO at Global Transatalntic Ltd; Robert Coles, chief information security officer at NH; and Deeph Chana, professor of practice at Imperial College Business School.

Tech Nation is both privately and publicly funded, with 80% of its funding coming from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The rest is generated through sponsorship and paid-for educational programmes.

Read more about cyber security

  • Internet of things researcher says unconfigured internet-connected devices are a largely unrecognised cyber security risk to businesses and consumers, and welcomes the increased likelihood of UK IoT legislation.
  • Cyber criminals used a range of techniques, as well as malware, malicious emails and calls, in attempts to access confidential financial data belonging to students, in massive uptick in attacks in the past year.
  • The first group of companies has completed a government-led cyber accelerator programme aimed at helping UK startups take the lead in producing the next generation of cyber security systems, with another round to be announced in 2017.

Read more on Technology startups

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