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New programme to spark wave of growth in UK’s thriving cyber sector

16 August 2021

Innovative cyber start-ups, small businesses and scaleups will benefit from a new scheme to help them launch and grow their businesses while spreading wealth and opportunity across the UK.

Shutterstock image
Shutterstock image

Cyber Runway will see entrepreneurs and businesses across the four nations get access to business masterclasses, mentoring, product development support, networking events and backing to trade internationally and secure investment so they can turn their ideas into commercial successes. 

The new programme – funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and delivered by Plexal in partnership with CyLon, Deloitte and The Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) – aims to support at least 160 organisations and companies over the course of six months.

The cyber security sector is one of the UK’s tech success stories with revenue growing seven percent in the last financial year and the number of companies increasing by 21 percent. The sector is now worth £8.9 billion.

Companies participating in DCMS’s cyber growth initiatives in the past have, on average, more than tripled their revenues year on year.

Minister for Digital Infrastructure Matt Warman said: “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. 

“Our new Cyber Runway programme will help tackle barriers to growth, increase investment and give firms vital support to take their businesses to the next level.”

Cyber Runway will promote growth across the UK with a particular focus on Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, the North East, North West and South West of England to support the government’s levelling up agenda. Much of the activity will build on the success of emerging cyber hubs such as Cheltenham, Manchester, Belfast, Cardiff, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The programme will also support founders and innovators from a diverse range of backgrounds – targeting applicants from 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 at Plexal, said: “COVID-19 has catalysed the need for effective cyber security 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.”

Nick Morris, CEO at CyLon, said: “The UK’s cyber security ecosystem is at a critical and exciting point in its development, with both new challenges and new opportunities having arisen out of the pandemic. Through its Launch, Grow and Scale streams, we believe Cyber Runway will be able to help a diverse range of entrepreneurs, start-ups and scaleups capitalise on this. 

“Cyber Runway will support UK innovators to develop the crucial security technologies that will safeguard the future of our digital economy. We are very pleased to be a part of this initiative alongside DCMS and our fantastic partners Plexal, CSIT and Deloitte.”

Louise Cushnahan, Head of innovation at CSIT, said: “CSIT has a strong reputation for providing support to cyber start-ups through their various growth stages. 

“We are delighted to bring our expertise to Cyber Runway to collaborate with cyber companies and entrepreneurs bringing innovative cyber solutions to market.”

Cyber Runway is part of the government’s wider work to develop the UK’s strength in cyber as we build back better after the pandemic and improve prosperity and security. 

Expressions of interest from applicants, mentors and investors can now be made. 


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