GCHQ accelerator launches with The Landing to support start-ups in improving digital safety

In partnership with GCHQ, The Landing and global tech accelerator UP Ventures have been selected to deliver a ground-breaking accelerator: the Safe Citizen Digital Innovation Lab. Applications to join this GCHQ accelerator, which will start in early 2020, are being sought from companies who have customer-facing technology solutions aimed at improving citizen digital safety across the North West. 

This follows on from the GM Future of Health Challenge accelerator which received unprecedented application numbers and is now underway with a cohort of 15 companies, led by UP Ventures at The Landing, in the heart of Salford’s MediaCityUK.

GCHQ is a world-leading intelligence, cyber and security agency with a mission to keep the UK safe. In parallel with celebrating its centenary year, GCHQ is opening a new strategic hub in the heart of Manchester.

GCHQ is excited to engage with the thriving tech ecosystem in Greater Manchester and the North West and will be imparting exclusive tailored technical expertise into the programme. The GCHQ accelerator seeks start-ups that have harnessed cutting-edge technology in a creative way to make a difference to day-to-day life. This could be anything from informing and, in turn, empowering citizens by providing new insights from connected devices and services through to the creative use of data to deliver social impact in the region.

GCHQ’s deputy director for Manchester stated: “The Greater Manchester community has been fantastically welcoming to GCHQ and we’re just as pleased to be here. This accelerator programme is an early chance for us to begin working with the buzzing tech community in the North West. The ‘Safe Citizens’ theme for the accelerator combines our passion for exploring innovative cutting-edge technology with our desire to make a real contribution to the region. We look forward to building relationships with a diverse range of technologists, creatives and entrepreneurs.”

GCHQ at Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

Pioneering “a new kind of security”

In order to pioneer a new kind of security as it expands into Greater Manchester, GCHQ is seeking to engage with external partners in the region, sharing unique technical expertise and collaborating with a diverse range of entrepreneurs, industry and academia to make a difference in the community.

Danny Meaney, CEO of UP Ventures, commented: “This is a fantastic opportunity for emerging tech businesses to gain unique access to GCHQ’s world-class engineering and technology teams, as well as leading digital thinkers and our strong investor network.  We’re excited to help bring another initiative to the market that has the potential to make a meaningful impact on people’s lives through applied technology here in Greater Manchester and the North West. We’re also pleased to build on our long-standing and successful partnership with The Landing.”

The 16-week accelerator programme will leverage unique technical infrastructure and facilities, including the Vodafone 5G Innovation Lab which provides real world urban environments for demonstration of products and services of MediaCityUK. GCHQ is keen to contribute to the fabric of Greater Manchester. Therefore, the programme welcomes submissions that provide “life impact” solutions for vulnerable groups across the region, empowering and connecting citizens through the ingenious use of technology.

Dan Sodergren, head of business services at The Landing, observed: “Thanks to our unparalleled facilities and a commitment to innovation from all partners, this is a significant opportunity for companies to explore how a ‘Smart City’ can work for its customers. Using technology for good is something we’re incredibly passionate about and we’re excited to receive applications from those who can really make a positive difference to all of our lives in the 21st Century.”

*Apply to the Safe Citizen Innovation Lab 1: http://thegchqaccelerator.mystrikingly.com

**Deadline for entries is 8 November. Successful applicants will be announced by 13 December and the programme begins on 13 January 2020

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