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GCHQ Launches Second Security Accelerator for Start-ups

GCHQ, the UK’s intelligence agency, has launched a second version of its accelerator, which aims to help start-ups to turn their ideas into commercial products and services.

It comes on the back of seven start-ups ‘graduating’ from the first accelerator, a three-month program held between January and March this year. To date, they have collectively raised more than £2.7m in investment, including follow-on contracts with companies including Cisco.

The new program will once again be delivered by Wayra UK, part of O2, as part of a collaboration between the incubator and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), GCHQ and the National Cyber Security Centre (NSCS).

However, this accelerator will be a longer program – lasting nine months. According to Wayra, the expanded program will give the start-ups more time with personnel and experts from GCHQ and NCSC, in a bid to expand their capabilities, improve their ideas and devise “cutting-edge” products.

Start-ups who are accepted onto the program will be given a grant by Wayra UK as well as office space, mentoring and contact with what Wayra UK called “an extensive investor network.” The company said that the program will help start-ups boost and scale initial sales and business development with relevant partners and secure follow-on third-party investment. The start-ups will also be able to gain Cyber Essentials accreditation through the program.

The program will include insights to government procurement processes, IP management, export controls and information assurance architecture. In addition, the companies will be able to pitch products and services to government departments.

“We are working hard to make Britain the best place to start and grow a digital business and the safest place to be online,” said Minister for Digital Matt Hancock.

“The GCHQ Cyber Accelerator is a vital part of this work and has already helped some of the most innovative cyber security startups develop cutting-edge new products and services.

“I’m pleased to announce the program is being extended and encourage the nation’s talented entrepreneurs to apply,” he added.

The accelerator is one of the commitments in the UK government’s five-year, £1.9bn National Cyber Security Strategy.

Start-ups can apply for the program until August 9 2017. Successful start-ups will begin work in the accelerator in October 2017.

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