A new programme to support cyber security startups will help develop innovative technical solutions that will help keep the UK safe from cyber attacks, the Government has announced.

Start ups who want to offer cyber security solutions will be able to get help, advice and support through the ‘Early Stage Accelerator Programme' to develop their products and services and bring them to market.

The £250,000 programme - the first of its kind for the UK cyber security sector - will be run by in partnership by Cyber London and the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen's University Belfast.

Speaking at the joint UK / US Global Cyber Security Innovation Summit at the British Museum in London, John Whittingdale, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, said:

"The UK's strong and growing digital economy is changing the way we live and work. As technologies continue to evolve there will be an increased demand for secure products and services, and this new programme will ensure the best ideas from our brightest minds can help keep the UK safe in cyberspace. I'm delighted to announce Cyber London and CSIT Belfast as partners in running this new programme."

The new programme will:

●      increase the rate of new cyber security start-up development in the UK

●      help entrepreneurs develop, test and validate the commercial viability of their ideas and help transform them into viable businesses

●      help identify new business ideas from the UK's leading cyber security knowledge base

●      provide a space for collaboration with the early stage start ups as they develop.

Funded by the Government's National Cyber Security Programme, the Early Stage Accelerator Programme will help ideas which may currently struggle to gain investment funding because they are at an early stage and not yet fully developed.

It is part of the Government's wider strategy to promote the UK cyber security industry which has grown rapidly in recent years and is now worth £17.6bn - up 70% since 2013 - and employs over 100,000 people. The programme will be open to applicants in March.

Stephen Wray, Commercial Director of CSIT, which will co-run the programme, said:

"CSIT is delighted to partner with Cyber London on this programme. CSIT and Cyber London are at the heart of the UK's cyber security start-up ecosystem and together we bring a strength of cyber capability, a track record of producing and nurturing start-ups, and an ability to leverage significant additional industry and innovation support partnerships from across the globe."

Kirsten Connell of Cyber London, which will co-run the programme,said:

"Naturally we're very pleased that Cyber London and CSIT have been selected to deliver the Cyber Security Early Stage Accelerator Programme. We believe the UK is one of the world's best places to build cyber security businesses, and this programme will help to make it easier for innovation to develop into commercial success".