London innovation hub Plexal has opened applications for cybersecurity startups to join the first cohort of Greater Manchester’s Digital Security Hub (DiSH) accelerator, which is designed to support the growth of early-stage startups throughout the Northwest.
Launched in June 2022, DiSH itself is run by a consortium of Barclays Eagle Labs, Lancaster University, University of Manchester and Plexal, with the overall goal to support 500 startups and create more 1,000 jobs in Greater Manchester’s digital security ecosystem.
The DiSH Accelerator – which is designed to help seed and pre-seed startups commercialize and scale their offerings – opened for applications on August 16, with startups having until September 11 to apply. Starting October 24, the acceleration program will last for three months.
The support startups will receive includes free access to DiSH workspaces; investment and financing assistance; pitch coaching; 1:1 mentoring; and networking opportunities, including introductions to industry figures.
Plexal and its partners also said they would not take any intellectual property or capital from any of the startups involved, and there was no fee required to participate.
“We are delighted to be DiSH’s innovation partner and are excited about the opportunity to design and deliver the first DiSH Accelerator to support innovative early-stage startups,” said Saj Huq, Chief Commercial Officer. and Head of Innovation at Plexal. .
“Greater Manchester and the North West has a growing cyber scene, and there are growing opportunities for the regional startup ecosystem to engage and collaborate with a range of potential customers and partners as that they adapt their proposals and gain market share. The DiSH Accelerator promises to act as a catalyst for this opportunity and we encourage ambitious startups to apply.
Greater Manchester, which was highlighted in the government’s upgrade white paper as a key region for new investment and economic growth, is already home to several tech unicorns (businesses valued at $1 billion), as well as the UK signals intelligence agency GCHQ.
The cyber divisions of several arms companies – including BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon – are also located in the region.
“We know from experience that having access to acceleration programs with mentorship and support is hugely beneficial to growing a start-up business,” said David Bleakman, chief cybersecurity officer at Barclays Eagle Labs.
“Connecting with like-minded entrepreneurs, universities and industry bodies, as well as potential customers and investors, helps build networks and drive growth.
“That’s why we want to encourage digital security and cybersecurity startups from across the region to join us on the DiSH Accelerator, to help them drive their growth and unlock their potential.”
Plexal is working separately with the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) to help run their joint NCSC for Startups initiative, which is specifically designed to help the UK government rapidly expand its cybersecurity capabilities. NCSC is part of GCHQ.
In May 2022, the NCSC chose five startups to help tackle the persistent threat of ransomware attacks, which have grown more frequent and sophisticated throughout 2021.