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New government plan to support cyber security startups

Government has announced a £250,000 programme to increase the rate of cyber security startup development in the UK

The government has announced another plan to support cyber security startups in a bid to grow the UK’s cyber security market and cyber defence capabilities.

The £250,000 programme will offer help, advice and support to develop products and services and bring them to market.

The announcement comes two months after the chancellor, George Osborne, promised a £1.9bn investment in cyber security over the next five years and to “aggressively defend” public services from cyber attacks.

Just over a year ago, government announced £4m funding for a competition to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) develop ideas for countering cyber threats as part of the drive to achieve £2bn in UK cyber exports by 2016.

The latest initiative is also part of the government’s wider strategy to promote the UK cyber security industry, which has grown 70% since 2013 and is worth an estimated £17.6bn.

The programme will be run in partnership with cyber security startup incubator Cyber London (Cylon) and Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen’s University Belfast. 

Cylon runs a programme to support fledgling European security companies. CSIT has one of the UK’s largest cyber security research labs, has partnered with IT services firm Infosys to develop intellectual property for combatting cyber security threats, and is the UK’s national Innovation and Knowledge Centre (IKC) for cyber security.

Read more about technology incubator programmes

The programme is designed to increase the rate of cyber security startup development in the UK by helping entrepreneurs to develop, test and validate the commercial viability of their ideas and transform them into businesses.

Funded by the government’s National Cyber Security Programme, the early-stage accelerator programme will support ideas that may currently struggle to win investment funding because they are not fully developed.

“As technologies continue to evolve there will be an increased demand for secure products and services, and this new programme will ensure the best ideas from our brightest minds can help keep the UK safe in cyberspace,” said culture minister John Whittingdale at the joint UK/US Global Cyber Security Innovation Summit in London.

Heart of ecosystem

Stephen Wray, commercial director of CSIT, said CSIT and Cyber London are at the heart of the UK’s cyber security startup ecosystem.

“Together we bring a strength of cyber capability, a track record of producing and nurturing startups, and an ability to leverage significant additional industry and innovation support partnerships from across the globe,” he said.

Kirsten Connell of Cyber London said the UK is one of the world’s best places to build cyber security businesses. “This programme will help to make it easier for innovation to develop into commercial success,” she said.

The programme will be open to applicants from March 2016.

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