Plexal, the innovation company founded by Delancey, is today opening applications for early-stage startups to apply for the new digital security accelerator programme from Greater Manchester’s Digital Security Hub (DiSH).

DiSH is delivered by a consortium consisting of Barclays Eagle Labs, Lancaster University, University of Manchester and Plexal. It was launched in June 2022 with the aim of supporting 500 startups and creating over 1000 jobs in Greater Manchester.

DiSH sits at the heart of the Greater Manchester digital security ecosystem to provide workspace, growth support and connections for local digital entrepreneurs.

Led by Barclays Eagle Labs, DiSH is supported by Manchester City Council and counts Lancaster University and the University of Manchester as academic partners, as well as Plexal as the dedicated innovation partner.

Beginning on 24 October and taking place over the three months, the DiSH Accelerator will offer digital security and cyber businesses from Greater Manchester access to mentors, coaching, events, industry connections and dedicated support to help them grow their early-stage businesses.

Plexal is inviting early-stage startups, including seed and pre-seed investment level startups, to apply for the programme by 11 September 2022. Plexal and the partners will take no intellectual property or equity from any of the startups, and there is no fee required to take part.

Applicants will be able to work from the 11,000 square foot DiSH workspace. Plexal is keen to receive applications from startups with diverse teams, including startups led by women and other under-represented groups.

Support the startups will receive includes:  

  • Free access to the DiSH workspace for the duration of the programme
  • Investment readiness and funding support
  • Business masterclasses
  • 1:1 mentoring
  • Pitch coaching
  • Industry introductions
  • Events with networking opportunities

Levelling up cyber in Greater Manchester

According to the government’s latest Sectoral Analysis of the UK’s cyber sector, more than 1,800 cyber security firms generated a total of £10.1bn in revenue in the most recent financial year, a 14% increase from the previous financial year. Cyber also contributed around £5.3bn to the UK economy in 2021, rising by a third on the previous year from £4bn – the largest increase since the report began in 2018.

Greater Manchester, which was highlighted in the government’s levelling up whitepaper as being a key region for further investment and economic growth. It’s home to several tech unicorns as well as GCHQ’s offices and has a burgeoning cyber security sector. Greater Manchester’s homegrown digital security companies include Avecto, Hedgehog, NCC Group and Secarma, and it’s also attracted cyber divisions of companies such as Raytheon, BAE Systems AI and Northrop Grumman. It’s the fastest-growing tech city within Europe.

David Bleakman, Barclays Eagle Labs Cyber Security Lead comments:

“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 start-ups across the region to join us on the DiSH accelerator, to help boost their growth and unlock their potential.

Saj Huq, CCO and head of innovation at Plexal comments:

“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. 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.