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Gloucestershire Business News

Big news for county’s cyber future at CyNam

There were three big announcements on the future of cyber at an online CyNam event last night (10th June).

Around 1,000 people attended CyNam 21.2 - Smart Cyber: Securing the IoT and the cities of the future.

Bruce Gregory, MD of Cheltenham's Hub8 and one of the CyNam directors, announced that Hub8 will be launching a brand new innovation centre in partnership with Gloucestershire College in September, located by GCHQ.

CyNam also announced that it is looking for a cyber skills and growth lead, a new role in patnerhisp with GFirst LEP, to inspire the next generation of cyber professionals, to start work in early September.

But perhaps the biggest news was the launch by Cheltenham-based NCSC, in partnership with a consortium of local and national talent, of NCSC for Startups.

NCSC's mission is to make the UK a safe place to live and work online. NCSC for Startups is all about finding unique ideas which can stop or reduce harm from cyber attacks.

Chris Ensor, deputy director for cyber skills and growth at NCSC, said the new scheme will take over from NCSC Accelerator, which was a central part of the Cheltenham Innovation Centre, put together with the help of GCHQ. Over the last four years, the Accelerator has engaged with 40 companies, which together have generated £100m in revenue.

NCSC's partner in the initiative is a consortium led by Plexal. Saj Huq, director of innovation at Plexal, said: "In delivering NCSC for Startups we've assembled a market leading team, which comprises local and regional expertise, with national and international reach. That expertise includes CyNam, as well as Hub8, the melting pot of collaboration and ideas in Cheltenham, together with industry leaders in Deloitte and QA, to really add value to the UK cyber security ecosystem through this new programme."

He said the team was particularly excited to be in Cheltenham.

"This is where it's at for cyber security in the UK, this is where the expertise is, this is where the capability is deep, where the density of talent is rich and that's why we're here. It's an incredibly exciting place to launch a business, to grow a business and to succeed in business in cyber security."

NCSC for Startups will take insights, ideas and expertise and pair them with businesses which have the highest potential to develop, support and enable products to get to market.

This unique opportunity for cyber security founders and start-ups across the UK will help develop the best products and help address the most critical market needs in cyber security now and in the future.

Saj continued: "We want to explore and prove new concepts with emerging businesses which have emerging technologies and are looking for ideas and guidance of how to apply those and where best to apply those.

"We want to pivot technologies into cyber security to try and address emerging market needs and explore new applications of technologies."

Although called NCSC for Startups, the programme is aimed at businesses from brand new startups through to more mature companies.

Saj said: "In cyber security you can't go to market with a minimal viable product. It will cause so many problems and create new risks. That's why you do really need to work with the experts and develop robust solutions.

"Cyber security is sometimes challenging to innovate in, because companies don't want to talk about the problems they're having. The insights from NCSC are powerful. For start-ups to be so close to the needs by working with us on that will make a real difference."

Chris said: "If you have any ideas that you think will solve some of the problems we have today, please get in touch with us and we look forward to working with you."

Businesses interested in taking part in NCSC for Startups should go to https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/section/ncsc-for-startups/overview.

The CyNam event also looked in depth at smart cities, with presentations and discussions from speakers from IBM, CGI, Oxford University and the University of Bristol, among others.

As the cyber cluster for Cheltenham, CyNam helps to create the ideal conditions for local cyber technology innovation, activating a network for businesses of all sizes to collaborate.

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