Andy Williams from techUK appointed as cyber security small business champion
Next year, the UK Government will give a total of £4 million to small businesses that can develop new ways to tackle cyber security threats.
The fund, aimed at boosting the country’s security software exports, was announced by Business Secretary Vince Cable at the first ever US-UK Global Cyber Security Innovation Summit in London.
He promised more funding for the security sector and appointed a cyber security small business champion – Andy Williams, who is doing a similar job at the technology industry trade association techUK.
“The growth of the cyber security sector in the UK is a great success story, worth over £6 billion and employing around 40,000 people,” Cable said.
“Building a strong and resilient cyberspace in the UK is central to ensuring that our companies can make the most of business opportunities online, whilst avoiding potentially costly threats to the information they hold and the services they provide.”
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Next year, the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) will divide £4 million between innovative small businesses that develop security software. To complement the financial incentive, the government has announced a number of initiatives aimed at getting this high potential sector into shape.
“Maintaining innovation and growth requires continued investment. Committing a further £4 million will help businesses of all sizes turn their ideas to counter cyber threats into reality. Partnering with industry experts will also increase the opportunities for the UK’s small cyber companies to work together and grow their businesses.”
Further development of the UK’s security ‘mittelstand’ will be the responsibility of Williams, a tech entrepreneur who was previously the head of International Business at Titania, a high-growth UK security software developer exporting to 60 countries.
Williams will have to create a map of security businesses in the UK, and set up a UK-wide growth project to encourage them to work closer together. The newly appointed ‘champion’ will also oversee the development of a website that will share information about national initiatives with the cyber business community.
Meanwhile, Dr Emma Philpott, managing director of tech consultancy Key IQ, will work with local volunteers to establish regional clusters of small companies working in cyber security, and try to give them a collective voice.
“Given the rapidly evolving global cyber threat landscape, the emergence of highly innovative and agile new companies with specialist cyber capability will be vital to ensuring the future safety and prosperity of the UK,” said Williams.
“The extra funding that BIS is providing to support cyber start-ups and small business will be key to ensuring the UK’s position as a global leader in cyber security.”
Earlier this year, TSB awarded grants worth almost £400,000 to seven cyber security start-ups located in the Severn Valley – an area which was identified as the most important security hub of the country.
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