A £6 million business support project will help SMEs in the Greater Manchester region to grow their business through the adoption Cyber Security practices, technology and innovation.
Lancaster University will provide the core programme to support the businesses participating in the Greater Manchester Cyber Foundry project. This programme will support 150 high growth companies from the Greater Manchester area to develop new cyber security focused business growth and productivity strategies.
The University will also use its research excellence found in the ACE-CSR to help selected companies to build new products and services to help companies differentiate or diversify in their market place.
Lancaster University is working with the University of Manchester, University of Salford and Manchester Metropolitan University as the lead organisation to deliver the three year project in the Great Manchester area. The project will work with over 150 companies to develop cyber security based business growth and productivity strategies, and 60 companies to develop new products and services.
This project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, and creates an entirely new approach for businesses to engage with cyber security. It is clear cyber security attacks pose a significant economic challenge nationally. The WannaCry ransomware demonstrated the potentially catastrophic impact of attacks against critically important infrastructure, and within Greater Manchester, the annual cost of cyber attacks has been estimated at almost £0.86bn by the Lloyds City Risk Register.
Beyond the risks the potential for cyber security to enable business growth and productivity through defence, market differentiation and diversification is significant. It is this growth potential which the cyber foundry will focus upon. It is this focus on growth potential for all businesses, not just cyber-tech companies, which differentiates this project from others.
As such, the Greater Manchester Cyber Foundry is looking to work with any Small to Medium Enterprise, regardless of sector. It is the project partners belief that cyber security innovation, technology and practices can enable any company to grow and become more productive. It is for this reason the four universities have pooled their strengths to support business growth.
Within the project Lancaster University leads on the delivery of a custom programme to support businesses to develop a growth and productivity strategy with cyber security at its heart. This programme will provide organisations with a strategic proposal alongside an operational approach to achieve the proposed outcomes with connections to other organisations and programmes that will help the company achieve their targets. This programme has been built on Lancaster University’s 16 year history of working with SMEs, supporting them to grow through innovation and technology. Find out more about Lancasters Role in the Project
Companies will also be supported to develop new products and services based on the domain expertise of the four university partners. Researchers and Developers in each of the universities will undertake 3 to 4 month product or service development projects with selected companies. Examples of projects include: improving cyber security in block chain and IoT applications, enhancing security of cyber physical systems, increasing encryption efficiency and increasing cyber threat intelligence in systems.