Gloucestershire wins government backing for new cyber status

Cheltenham Cyber Central

Gloucestershire has been chosen by the Department for International Trade to be showcased as a world-leading cyber cluster through the High Potential Opportunities (HPO) programme.

DIT’s High Potential Opportunities programme was launched in 2018 to encourage and accelerate foreign direct investment into the UK’s key growth sectors, in line with Government’s Industrial Strategy.

The publication of this HPO will aim to showcase Gloucestershire as a global destination for cyber business. Gloucestershire’s strengths in cyber activity will be promoted to targeted DIT teams in British Embassies and consulates across the world.

Home to GCHQ and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), Gloucestershire has the largest cluster of cyber related businesses outside of London. With a rising number of cyber-attacks and the increasing vulnerabilities with the growing adoption of the Internet of Things, the UK’s cyber security industry is accelerating and growing rapidly.

Gloucestershire is building an impressive reputation for high growth cyber and digital business and innovation, especially now with the county earmarked for strong economic growth and many new infrastructure and development projects such as the Forum in Gloucester and the Golden Valley development in West Cheltenham.

Total annual revenue within the UK’s cyber security industry is worth an estimated £10.1 billion, up 14 per cent on the previous year, supporting 52,700 employees. In Gloucestershire there are more than 1,000 cyber security professionals and more than 120 firms involved in cyber related activities, helping to boost the local economy.

Minister for Investment Lord Grimstone said: “As a world leader in cyber security, our National Cyber Strategy commits £2.6 billion of new investment to help build the UK’s reputation as a responsible and democratic cyber power.

“The UK is the best investment destination in the world. Our Investment Atlas, highlighting strategic high priority investment opportunities across the UK, makes it easier for businesses to make decisions on where and what to invest in, growing the economy and spreading prosperity.”

Gloucestershire takes its cyber, engineering and renewable tech credentials to the world

Tim Kay, Technology Sector Director, DIT said: “The Gloucestershire cluster supports companies developing cyber solutions for a broad range of sectors including healthcare, agriculture, financial services, mobility, infrastructure and energy, and represents a great starting point for overseas companies to grow their businesses in the UK.”

Gloucestershire offers a unique location for cyber investment in the UK where businesses can tap into a specialised ecosystem; be part of an established thriving cluster; capitalise on a wide choice of incubation and soft-landing platforms and directly access a core of highly skilled cyber security students and professionals.

Gloucestershire has 15 of the 49 nationals ‘Cyber First’ schools; an initiative to facilitate talent into the cyber sector. Cynam, the county’s regional Cyber Cluster, is driving the growth of the ecosystem through providing a platform for innovation, collaboration and knowledge exchange.

Reid Derby, Director of Strategy at CyNam and Strategic Advisor on Innovation at Golden Valley Development said:

“It has been a privilege to work with a wide variety of leaders in the region to create the Cyber HPO for Gloucestershire and to be able for the first time to uncover and showcase all the amazing assets that we have in our region that have up to now been hidden from a wider audience.

“From our research it is clear that there are so many opportunities to grow cyber businesses in Gloucestershire and for companies moving into the region to become part of the amazing community we have here. Gloucestershire is definitely open for business and keen to work with all to make the UK the safest place to live and work online.”

There is also a rich asset base available; from incubator space available now, such as Hub 8, to larger scale developments which are being moved forward, including the Golden Valley Cyber Campus. This is a £1bn project that will create the UK’s only cyber-focused campus, including the National Cyber Innovation Centre. It will accommodate 2 million sq. ft (186,000 sq. m) of office space, 3,700 homes and leisure facilities.

David Owen, CEO at Gloucestershire’s Local Enterprise Partnership, GFirst LEP, added: “We highlighted the strength and importance of the Gloucestershire Cyber Sector in our Local Industrial Strategy back in 2019 and stressed how it will play a pivotal part in growth potential for the county’s future.

Gloucestershire is well placed to embrace this booming sector capitalising on our established eco-system and already robust business network. The Cyber HPO created by the Department for International Trade will be invaluable in raising our profile globally and integral in attracting new international businesses into the county.”