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Cyber security: apply now for business funding

Businesses can get an Innovation Voucher worth £5,000 to pay for an external expert to help them with their cyber security.

Innovate UK is offering businesses Cyber Security Innovation Vouchers worth up to £5,000.

They can use these vouchers to pay for an external expert to give them advice on protecting their business against cyber attacks and potential accreditation to Cyber Essentials. They can also use this advice to protect new business ideas and intellectual property in cyber security.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is investing £500,000 in the new scheme with equal funding from Innovate UK.

How Cyber Essentials certification works

The Cyber Essentials programme helps organisations develop a secure platform for their business activities. They can also get accreditation to show that they’ve taken these precautions.

Suppliers bidding for a government contract may need this accreditation. Since 2014, all suppliers handling certain sensitive and personal information need Cyber Essentials accreditation.

There are 2 levels of certification available through the scheme:

  • Cyber Essentials – an external assessor reviews the organisation’s responses to a questionnaire
  • Cyber Essentials PLUS - an external assessor carries out tests of the organisation’s IT security systems

Details of the Cyber Security Innovation Voucher competition

Innovate UK will award Cyber Security Innovation Vouchers once every 3 months from October 2015. We enter eligible applications into a draw and choose winners at random.

To qualify for a Cyber Security Innovation Voucher organisations must:

  • be starting up or running a micro, small or medium-sized UK business
  • have not worked with this expert before
  • need help with something that’s a real challenge for their business, not just a small improvement or change
  • have not had an Innovation Voucher from Innovate UK or the Technology Strategy Board before

Innovate UK will help winners access an expert from one of the following:

  • universities and further education colleges
  • research and technology organisations
  • technical consultancies
  • Catapult centres
  • design advisers
  • intellectual property advisers

Innovate UK is also running Cyber Security Knowledge Transfer Partnerships. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Innovate UK are both investing £250,000 in the new scheme and expect to fund up to 10 KTPs. These KTPs will encourage partnerships between academic institutions and cyber security companies. They will also support growth and jobs creation.

Innovate UK also runs a general Innovation Voucher scheme for businesses that need expert advice in areas other than cyber security.