Plexal has opened applications for early-stage startups to apply for the new digital security accelerator programme from Greater Manchester’s Digital Security Hub (DiSH).

DiSH is being delivered by Barclays Eagle Labs, Lancaster University, University of Manchester and Plexal with support from Manchester City Council. It was launched in June 2022 with the aim of supporting 500 startups and creating over 1,000 jobs in Greater Manchester.

Beginning on 24th October and delivered by Plexal, the three-month DiSH Accelerator will give digital security and cyber businesses from Greater Manchester access to mentors, coaching, events, industry connections and support to help them grow their early-stage businesses.

Applicants will be able to work from the 11,000 square foot DiSH workspace in Manchester and benefit from investment readiness and funding support; business masterclasses; 1:1 mentoring; pitch coaching; industry introductions; and events with networking opportunities.

Plexal and its partners will not take any intellectual property or equity from the startups, while there is no fee to take part.

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Applications close on 11th September 2022. Plexal says it is keen to receive applications from startups with diverse teams, including those led by women and other under-represented groups.

Greater Manchester is home to several tech unicorns as well as GCHQ’s offices and has a burgeoning cybersecurity sector including Avecto and NCC Group.

It has also attracted cyber divisions of companies such as Raytheon, BAE Systems AI and Northrop Grumman. It is the fastest-growing tech city within Europe.

“We’re thrilled to be the innovation partner to the DiSH and are excited by the opportunity to design and deliver the first DiSH Accelerator targeted at supporting innovative, early-stage startups,” said Saj Huq, CCO and head of innovation at Plexal.

“Greater Manchester has a fast-growing cyber scene, and there are increasing opportunities for the regional startup ecosystem to engage and collaborate with an array of potential customers and partners as they scale their propositions and build market share.

“The DiSH Accelerator promises to act as a catalyst for that opportunity and we encourage ambitious startups to apply.”

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David Bleakman, Barclays Eagle Labs cyber security lead, added: “We know from experience that access to accelerator programmes with mentoring and support is hugely beneficial to the growth of an early-stage business. 

“Connecting with like-minded entrepreneurs, universities and industry bodies, as well as potential clients and investors, helps to build networks and stimulate growth.

“This is why we want to encourage digital security and cyber startups across the region to join us on the DiSH accelerator, to help boost their growth and unlock their potential.”