A £13.5 million cyber-innovation centre is to be built at London's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, intended to boost the thriving East London digital cluster and help create 2,000 UK jobs in cyber-security while grabbing a bigger slice of the global cyber-security market, forecast to be worth £69 billion in 2018.
The intention is that startups in the scheme will work with larger firms to help solve their cyber-security challenges, thus help create solutions needed by the large firms while securing commercial contracts and investment for the startups.
Tailored support programmes for at least 72 companies over three years will be open to firms from across the UK, while other startups not on the programme will also be able to access the centre's support and facilities.
Firms in the programme will have access to international cyber security networks via the Global Ecosystem of Ecosystems Partnership in Innovation and Cybersecurity (Global EPIC).
At the launch announcement Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, commented in an official statement: “London is the undisputed leader of European tech, with billions of investment flowing in every year and world-leading firms developing groundbreaking innovations.
“This new centre in the Olympic Park will build on the site's legacy of excellence and spark a wave of creativity to develop the cyber-security technology of the future and help protect the nation's industry.”
The new centre will be run by Plexal from its Here East headquarters, and is being funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport as part of the Government's five-year, £1.9 billion investment to keep the UK safe online.
Claire Cockerton, CEO and founder of Plexal, commented: “Our future international standing as a world-leading digitally-enabled economy depends on a robust and forward-thinking cyber-security sector.
“The centre will help this to develop by delivering bespoke business development programmes, engineering resource, professional services, access to corporate buyers and ambitious investors. Our mission is to bring the whole industry together to accelerate innovation, entrepreneurship and business growth for UK PLC.”
Plexal will partner with the Centre for Secure Information Technologies at Queen's University Belfast, the UK's Innovation and Knowledge Centre (IKC) for secure information technologies, and Deloitte.
The facility is one of two new centres being developed by government to grow the UK's cyber-security sector. An innovation centre in Cheltenham opened in early 2017 with the launch of the GCHQ Cyber Accelerator programme. Seven startups have graduated with a further nine companies currently taking part in an extended nine-month programme.
Rahul Powar, CEO, Red Sift, emailed SC to comment, "I'm delighted to see that the Government's pledge to invest in the UK's cyber-security posture is beginning to come to life. Giving startups the initial boost they need to bring ideas and research to commercial fruition is worth applauding and will be vital in ensuring that the UK remains at the leading edge of global cyber-security innovation."