A NETWORK for ambitious tech entrepreneurs has announced the first intake into its national cyber security growth programme.

Tech Nation, through funding from the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport, is aiming to help accelerate the growth of the UK’s most exciting cyber security businesses.

Supported by local cyber security market-leaders Tessian, Digital Shadows, Darktrace and CensorNet, the six-month programme has accepted 20 fast-growth cyber scale-ups as the first intake.

Of the 20 businesses joining the programme, 45% are based outside of London, with cohort headquarters located in Glasgow, Reading, Belfast, Cheltenham, Bristol, Cardiff, Caerphilly and Brighton.

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Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, said: “Congratulations to all the firms selected for this new programme which shows the depth of tech talent right across the country.

“This important scheme will not only allow promising cyber security start-ups to access world-class expert advice but also help us achieve our aim of making Britain the safest place in the world to be online.”

Following the call for applications in February, the successful cohort was chosen by a panel of expert judges from the public and private sector. The judges assessed applicants against their growth record to date, current scaling plans and expertise, and long-term business potential – both nationally and internationally.

The breadth of innovation and application amongst the 20-strong cohort is testament to the UK’s world-leading cyber security and broader technology sectors.

From machine-learning and blockchain, to biometrics and cloud solutions, the Tech Nation Cyber cohort are utilising bleeding-edge technologies to offer clients new ways to improve security, and protect businesses and individuals online.

The companies will benefit from a series of workshops held across the UK, led by industry leaders such as Digital Shadows co-founder James Chappell, Darktrace co-founders Emily Orton and Dave Palmer and Deep3 co-founder and CEO Richard Yorke. The programme will also include meet-ups and networking support, to help the scale-ups navigate common barriers to growth.

This will include guidance on everything from how to recruit the right talent to meeting goals for international expansion. It will also provide them with a powerful network of peers, investors and potential clients.

Ollie Bone, cyber programme lead at Tech Nation, said: “In recent years the success for a handful of UK Cyber Security innovators is more than could be imagined.

“They have enhanced the nation’s reputation for producing world-class technology, while also helping to pave the way for many more start-ups hoping to follow suit.

“Concurrently the market for cyber security is continuing to grow at a rapid pace and this conspires to make our cohort of scale-ups exciting ones to watch.