NCSC for Startups launches today

NCSC for Startups

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – a part of GCHQ – has appointed Plexal to deliver NCSC for Startups. In 2021 and beyond, we’ll work with innovators to help them develop, adapt and pilot solutions to some of the UK’s most pressing cybersecurity challenges. Startups can apply now on the NCSC website and learn more at or contact our cyber innovation team on

The initiative was launched at CyNam’s virtual event during the Cheltenham Science Festival by Saj Huq, director of innovation at Plexal, and Chris Ensor, deputy director for cyber skills and growth at the NCSC.

Tech innovators, from early-stage startups to established scaleups, will develop and pilot technology to protect the UK from malicious activity – including phishing and ransomware attacks.

NCSC for Startups is the successor to the NCSC Cyber Accelerator, which helped over 40 tech companies raise more than £100m in investment.

While the Cyber Accelerator involved startups taking part in 10-week programmes at set times during the year, NCSC for Startups will involve the continual onboarding of companies as they apply to work on specific projects. This will create the potential for more collaborations than ever before.

Successful applicants will work from the NCSC for Startups HQ in Cheltenham as well as remotely. They will also be eligible to apply for funding to help them develop their ideas .   

Startups will be supported by Plexal’s cyber innovation team and experts from the NCSC and GCHQ. They will also get access to technical and commercial opportunities with Plexal’s industry partners across the UK’s cybersecurity ecosystem.

Startups will keep all intellectual property and equity created during the programme.

NCSC for Startups is a collaboration between the NCSC and Plexal. It will be supported by Deloitte, CyNam, which brings Cheltenham’s cyber community together, Cheltenham-based coworking space Hub8 and tech skills provider QA.

Chris Ensor, deputy director for cyber growth at the NCSC, said: “We want to work with the UK’s thriving cybersecurity industry to explore new ideas that will make the UK the safest place to live and work online.

“NCSC for Startups offers the potential for even greater collaboration than ever before, and I would encourage startups to come forward and help us in our mission.”

And Saj Huq, Plexal’s director of innovation, said: “Being at the cutting edge of cybersecurity is critical for solving the constantly evolving challenges and enabling the many technology-driven opportunities that an increasingly interconnected and digital world creates.

“NCSC for Startups is a unique opportunity for innovative startups to explore new concepts and collaborate with the UK government, Plexal and a broad spectrum of industry and academic partners to develop, iterate and pilot solutions that the UK needs the most.”

Cyber innovation at Plexal

NCSC for Startups follows news that Plexal has been chosen to be the lead innovation partner for the new Manchester Digital Innovation and Security Hub (DISH). The hub is aimed at enabling collaboration between entrepreneurs, local businesses, academics, public sector organisations and the voluntary sector.

It also builds on our cybersecurity work with investors, large enterprises, policymakers, academia and startups through our LORCA programme. In just over three years, LORCA has helped 72 startups raise over £200m in investment.