Cyber Runway programme supports new security businesses

by Joseph K. Clark

A new government-supported scheme to support the UK’s growing cybersecurity sector will offer new security firms offering business masterclasses, mentoring, product development support, networking events, and backing to trade internationally and secure investment. The Cyber Runway program will be launched today by Plexal, CyLon, Deloitte, and the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen’s University Belfast. Its backers hope to onboard 160 organizations and companies between now and February 2022.

Official statistics suggest the UK’s cyber industry is one of the country’s more robust tech sectors; currently valued at £8.9bn, its revenues grew by 7% in the 2020-21 fiscal year, and the number of companies in the sector was up 21%. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) claims that companies participating in its security growth schemes more than triple their revenues on average.

“The UK’s cyber sector is booming, and we’re working tirelessly to ensure businesses and individuals across the country feel the benefits,” said digital minister Matt Warman.

“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 Cyber Runway scheme has been designed to focus on regions of the UK targeted by the government’s so-called “leveling up” agenda, with other activities building on the success of emerging cyber hubs in Belfast, Cardiff, Cheltenham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Manchester.

It will also target founders and innovators drawn from underrepresented groups in security; the program has set specific targets around supporting businesses led by women and people from black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.


Plexal innovation director Saj Huq said: “Covid-19 has catalyzed the need for adequate 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.”

Cylon CEO Nick Morris added: “The UK’s cyber security ecosystem is at a critical and exciting point in its development, with new challenges and opportunities arising out of the pandemic. Through its Launch, Grow, and Scale streams, we believe Cyber Runway will help a diverse range of entrepreneurs, startups, and scaleups capitalize on this.

Louise Cushnahan, head of innovation at CSIT, said: “CSIT has a strong reputation for supporting cyber startups 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.”

The Cyber Runway program is now open to expressions of interest from potential applicants, investors, and mentors. More details can be found here.

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