UK Government Launches New Program to Expand Cyber Sector

  • The UK Government has launched a new program to “spark a wave of growth” in the UK’s cyber sector.

    The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced the initiative, known as “Cyber Runway,” today. It will be delivered by Plexal, CyLon, Deloitte and The Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT).

    Cyber Runway will help entrepreneurs and businesses from across the UK—England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland—have access to business masterclasses, mentoring, product development support, networking events and backing to trade internationally and secure investment. DCMS said it is aiming to support at least 160 organizations across the course of six months.

    In the last financial year, the cybersecurity sector’s revenue grew by 7%. The number of companies in the sector grew by 21%, with the sector now worth £8.9bn (approximately $12.3m).

    According to the DCMS, companies that have participated in the government’s cyber growth initiatives in the past have, on average, more than tripled their revenues year-on-year.

    “The UK’s cyber sector is booming and we’re working tirelessly to ensure the benefits are felt by businesses and individuals right across the country,” commented Matt Warman, Minister for Digital Infrastructure. “Our new Cyber Runway program will help tackle barriers to growth, increase investment and give firms vital support to take their businesses to the next level.”

    The program is looking to focus on Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, the North East, North West and the South West of England to support the UK government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda. It will also support founders and innovators from a “diverse range of backgrounds,” in a bid to grow underrepresented groups in the UK’s cyber sector such as women and people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.

    Saj Huq, director of innovation, Plexal, said: “COVID-19 has catalyzed the need for effective cybersecurity across industries, and a record level of capital is being invested into the sector. But there is still a need for support for businesses at the earliest stages of their development and innovators and entrepreneurs from underrepresented communities still face barriers when entering the ecosystem.

    “These are challenges we look forward to addressing with Cyber Runway by supporting the best innovators, regardless of their background or geography, to thrive and grow.”

    Cyber Runway follows a number of other DCMS-funded cyber programs which have now completed. These include HutZero, Cyber 101 and Tech Nation’s cyber accelerator for scaleups.

    Earlier this week, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) unveiled the first five cyber firms to take part in another government-backed cyber startup program, which is designed to support innovative cybersecurity firms to develop products that will help protect critical areas of the UK’s economy and society from online harms.