Applications Open for Next NCSC for Startups Cohort

Applications have opened for the latest NCSC for Startups program, which is focusing on companies developing products to protect SMEs from ransomware.

The program, designed to help the growth and development of the UK’s most promising cybersecurity startup firms, was launched last June. It is run by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and Plexal, and is a successor to the successful NCSC Cyber Accelerator program.

The first companies to participate in this new program were announced in August.

For its next cohort, NCSC for Startups is inviting applications from startups creating products designed to protect SMEs from surging ransomware attacks. Specifically, these are companies that:

  • Can defend SMEs from ransomware by providing accessible, low-cost protection
  • Encourage firms to implement secure backups to minimize the impact of an attack
  • Address risks posed by remote desktop protocol (RDP) as more businesses and individuals implement home and remote working

Cyber-criminals have dramatically increased their targeting of SMEs during the pandemic, with many of these businesses having to undertake rapid digital transformation projects. Yet many of these firms do not have the necessary cybersecurity skills or tools to protect themselves.

Successful applicants will receive continuous onboarding for 12 months, working with leading cybersecurity experts to develop, adapt and test their products.

Chris Ensor, deputy director for cyber growth at the NCSC, commented: “Ransomware presents the most serious cyber security threat to the UK, and it is vital that organizations protect themselves.

“Our latest NCSC for Startups challenge provides a great opportunity for innovative companies to collaborate with us in the fight against ransomware and strengthen the UK’s defenses.”

Saj Huq, director of innovation at Plexal, said: “Ransomware doesn’t just affect large, established companies: there is a growing risk to SMEs that make up the backbone of our economy, and anyone who lives and works online are potential victims.  

“This is a unique and game-changing opportunity for startups to work on the biggest cyber-threat around alongside experts from the NCSC and industry who are working day in, day out, to keep the UK safe – and I hope they respond to this call with a sense of urgency and mission.”

Interested companies can submit their applications at: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/section/ncsc-for-startups/join-the-ncsc-for-start-ups.

The NCSC for Startups program forms part of the UK’s National Cyber Strategy, unveiled in December.

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