UK government funded incubator programme HutZero, which is designed to help up-and-coming cyber-security entrepreneurs develop a fully fledged business, has today announced that it has opened applications for participants to join its second cohort.
The HutZero programme supports early-stage cyber-security entrepreneurs, providing them with the skills, mentoring and networking opportunities to turn their ideas into viable business initiatives. Applications are invited from individuals at any stage of their career who can demonstrate entrepreneurial flair and who are committed to progressing a career in cyber-security.
The programme is run in partnership between cyber-London (CyLon), a cyber-security accelerator and the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen's University Belfast, as part of the government's National cyber-Security Programme. There are no costs for participants selected to join the cohort.
There are two stages to HutZero, which starts with a week-long bootcamp in September, in London, with workshops on technical development, business fundamentals and team building. This is followed by a three-month period of mentoring by a panel of experts recruited from academia, business, government and investors, with the aim of launching the next generation of cyber-security start-ups.
The 22 participants from the 2016 HutZero programme, selected from a large number of initial applicants, came from a wide range of different backgrounds across industry, academia and government including a 6th Form student, a city worker and a professor of cyber-security.
Gary Robinson, a participant of the first HutZero programme and founder of security startup Uleska, who used to work in security for Citi Group, commented: “The support that I've had, both from the mentors and other programme participants has been invaluable and helped me navigate the all-important early stages of product development. Thanks to this input, I'm now looking forward to launching the first version of my product and focusing on building the business full time.”
Robinson spoke with SC and highlighted a valuable point: “We need more incubators like HutZero, because if the innovations in cyber-security only come from the big players in the industry, it will heavily skew the industry's ability to innovate and tackle problems more efficiently.”
Robin adds: “There's an old saying, ‘you don't get fired for buying from IBM'”, which highlights the issue of the need for credibility in startups, and Robinson says joining an incubator like HutZero is what helps build just that.
According to Jonathan Luff, one of the CyLon founders: “The first HutZero participants have achieved amazing things already, underlining that the UK is home to a wealth of entrepreneurial talent, ready and waiting to be discovered, demonstrating the value of harnessing this raw talent and providing practical support. The next programme promises to be just as exciting.”
Louise Cushnahan, CSIT innovation programmes manager, comments: “It's been incredibly rewarding to see the 2016 alumni take their concepts from the drawing board to viable – and investable – business initiatives as a direct result of the programme. We're looking forward to replicating this and helping a brand new crop of cyber-security talent to flourish.”
Applications for the HutZero Programme are open from today, April 4th. For more information, go to www.hutzero.co.uk