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‘Who we are and what we do to the NCSC for Startups Alumni Week participants’ – CACI

CACI were delighted to be invited to introduce ourselves and give an overview of who we are and what we do to the NCSC for Startups Alumni Week participants. We spent the first hour of the day with an introduction to CACI and how we support our SME partners, helping them to navigate government contracts and comply with security requirements whilst also supporting their growth into wider ecosystems.

The rest of the day was spent in one to ones with the startups, discussing in greater detail what they do, what stage they are at and how we might be able to either partner with or support them in the future.

 

It was, for us, a very educational and fascinating day and we hope we had a positive impact on those individuals and businesses we spoke to. Supporting SME’s and partnering with other companies is a key facet of CACI’s strategy, and events such as the NCSC for Startups Alumni Week are a great opportunity for everyone to benefit from shared knowledge and access to decision makers across a wide range of the technology sphere.

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Cyber Tech West – Launch Announcement

CyNam are excited at today’s announcement by CBI President, Brian McBride, regarding the launch of Cyber Tech West, a cluster that will bring together world-leading cyber and technology capability from across the West of England to drive economic growth, regional prosperity and better protect UK plc in the online sphere. 

 

As a key partner in Cyber Tech West, CyNam will work with CBI and regional stakeholders from across the public and private sectors to establish a cluster of both national and global significance, anchored in the West and underpinned by values of collaboration, innovation, and entrepreneurship. 

 

 

The Geography

This geography boasts a rich concentration of  anchor institutions, as well as a density of cyber expertise. The broader region is home to universities with world-leading expertise in cyber and related fields: University of Bristol, UWE, University of Gloucestershire, University of BathUniversity of Wolverhampton, University of Cardiff, University of OxfordDSTL MOD in Wiltshire and GCHQ / NCSC in Cheltenham, key government institutions, are based in the region with many primes and Tier 1s also having a strong presence, including Raytheon, BAE, NorthroGrumman, BT, CGI, Atkins, Sopra Steria, Deloitte, CACI, Roke, Airbus, Leonardo, and Qinetiq. 

 

The West is also home to a thriving Cyber Tech Start-up, Scale-up & SME community with over 75 companies actively growing in the region with
the NCSC for Start-ups program
supporting the growth and development of over 20 Cyber tech start-ups each year.
 

 

 

Building on initiatives already underway Cyber Tech West will deliver activity across 5 areas of focus

If you are a Cyber and Technology businesses and want to get involved to shape the initiatives, then please get in touch with us: info@cynam.org 

 

 

CyNam MD, Rich Yorke says: “Since 2016 CyNam have been on a mission to grow the Cyber ecosystem by being the catalyst for cross sector collaboration, innovation, and skills development. 

 

We believe the conditions for long term, sustainable growth are in place with an extensive range of infrastructure and innovation assets, an amazing and growing talent pool, leading edge research & technological capability and investor engagement. Cyber Tech West aims build on this to activate greater innovation and investment. 

 

 

Cyber Tech West represents a clear opportunity to join up across the cyber, defence and national security communities to further establish the region and the wider UK as a global technology super-power and in doing so, drive meaningful economic growth that will engage and benefit the whole of society.

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‘From Cheltenham to the world’ A summary of our epic trip to Lisbon

'From Cheltenham to the world’. A summary of our epic trip to Lisbon

Last month, team CyNam jetted off to Lisbon with a group of key stakeholders from the Cheltenham ecosystem. The aim of the trip was to experience first-hand Lisbon’s exciting tech start-up scene and learn about how it has transformed the city into a tech hub of international significance. 

So, what did we get up to whilst we were away?

Thanks to the brilliant organisation of Jeremy Bamberg and the Factory x HBD team, we had a jam-packed whistle stop tour of Lisbon.

Day 1:

We kicked off the trip with a bang. The first stop on our agenda was a trip to City Hall to meet Lisbon’s Mayor and Municipal Director of Innovation. This was a real eye opener into understanding the steps Lisbon have taken to put themselves on the map for innovation and start-up growth. Carlos Moedas (The Mayor) was also the former EU Commissioner for Research and Innovation. 

For some context… back in 2010, post financial crash, Lisbon was facing a crisis of high youth unemployment and little to no prospects for young, talented people. This was the key factor that, led to new entrepreneurs starting up tech companies, out of necessity. The city council recognised this and invested in a start-up incubator which became Start-up Lisboa, a focal point for the start-up scene to convene around. 

So, after our first stop, we headed over to the famous Carmo Rooftop for a relaxed start-up event. It was great to see such a range of organisations there and experience the beauty of Lisbon at night.

Day 2:

Our second day was the real showstopper. We had a day jam packed with site tours, educational talks and behind the scene event action.

The first stop on the agenda was a morning of ‘meeting the ecosystem’ at Factory Lisbon on a former military site in the Beato district. We were lucky enough to have a site tour of the flagship Factory building, followed by talks from local stakeholders who shared their stories and explored the importance of story-telling, community cohesion and stakeholder engagement. 

With everyone in the group now feeling fully inspired, we headed for our tour and concept pitch at Hub Criativo do Beato. During the tour, we were told about the concept of Factory’s development and how it is ‘more than just a building’. The building itself saw a disused military food manufacturing building (mainly used to produce cookies and pasta!) transform into an innovation hub oozing with potential for both the local and overseas population. The Hub Criativo is the surrounding area, which was kept at the forefront when the development began, meaning opportunities remained for both local residents and business stakeholders. A great example of what’s to come in Cheltenham.

And now for something really cool. Our final stop of the day before the main evening event was a visit to the Now_Beato co-working space to meet some inventors from the Jack the Maker lab. A huge thanks to the team for the awesome demos. Their office was like an inventors paradise! Check them out.

And last but not least…. The Europas. On our final evening of the trip, we all got suited and booted and headed over to the Opening Night of Web Summit & Night Summit.

A bit about the Europas:

Founded in 2009 by Mike Butcher, editor-at-large at TechCrunch, the Europas was originally formed to recognize and celebrate the innovation emerging from Europe’s burgeoning tech startup scene. In this year’s fourteenth edition a number of companies were shortlist for various awards, including our very own Immersive Labs, and we got to be there!

Day 3:

Before heading back to the airport, we soaked up the last of the sights in Lisbon and reflected on what we had learnt on the trip.

So, what were our key take away’s from the trip?

  • The importance of storytelling/celebrating and shouting about entrepreneurial/start up successes 
  • The importance of having a flagship, internationally recognised event such as Web Summit in bringing together tech entrepreneurs from across the globe
  • The importance of having an organisation that can bring the various ecosystem members together under a single “brand” to champions the ecosystem and any subsequent development work
  • How creativity must be allowed to flourish and challenge the status quo. We saw this on a big scale with Start-up Lisboa and Factory Lisbon but, also on the smaller scale with Jack the Maker

For us, it was great to see how disruptive developments can help drive innovation and community join up in an area. We look forward to seeing what continues to develop within Cheltenham.

Another huge thank you to our hosts Factory and to everyone we met along the way.

Adeus for now, Lisbon.

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CyNamInvest02- Yes! You’ve got funding… now what?

In September 2022, we hosted our second investor event. CyNamInvest02 was part of an ongoing series of events and explored the realities a post investment world for founders, entrepreneurs and investors.

During the event, we heard from founders who discussed their their investment journeys and their realities of working with investors. We also heard from a range of other companies, from start ups and rapidly growing SME’s to established investors who also shared their experiences of funding rounds and their top tips for a successful investment process.

HCR, our headline sponsor from the event have answered all questions asked from the audience via Slido on the night. Tim Ward, a panellists from the investor panel has answered them to help continue the conversation. Take a look below and stay tuned for updates about CyNamInvest03.

When should you start thinking about creating an employee options pool?

It is never too early – if the business is successful and its value increases, so do the cost of options, but bear in mind there is a two-year qualifying period to get the tax break. An employee options pool attracts the key staff without you having to pay bonuses and links them to the right objectives that will help grow the business and its value. You should put aside what is agreed with your investor – possibly up to 15% – and maybe grant these over time as and when you recruit the right people or those you have, have proven their worth.

At what stage should founders and management teams start thinking about the next funding round or exit?

With so much uncertainty in the current climate, it is always better to be able to turn cash down than be desperate for it – if you are, you will never attract the best terms. Before exiting, you need to have a growth plan and be ready to progress it – you don’t want to receive offers without an understanding or agreement as to what can be done. So before you close a round, you should be preparing for the next.

How should investors be supportive in a rough patch? What to do if you have a rough patch?

It depends on the terms agreed, but founders should not be so onerous that they give an investor ultimate control at an early-stage business. Hiding issues will break trust so if something isn’t working, explain why and work collaboratively. I have often seen investors push out timeframes and put in a short term cashflow loan – this may leave founders diluted for the interim but they can always agree a follow-on i.e., if there is emergency funding to invest in further down the line and on the same terms.

What sort of due diligence will investors do on founders and what should you do on investors?

Investors, if sophisticated, will ask you to warrant a questionnaire so do not hide mistakes and bad deals – these will be known and if they find out about it, it can not only break the trust but trigger legal consequences. For founders, talk to other companies who have also received investment and ask candid questions. When speaking with investors directly, establish how supportive they can be, what doors they can open and who can they introduce you to. It’s important to game plan different outcomes at the outset.

What makes cybersecurity unique compared to other investments say in Ecommerce?

The cybersecurity market is a growing one, especially in a technology-driven business society – accelerated by the pandemic – where advancements in tech are growing exponentially. Investing in cybersecurity is certainly a necessary step and as for founders consider a) that cybersecurity is a specialist narrow field so produce has to be focused and b) how you can be different in a crowded space of providers.

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Gloucestershire College and UWE Bristol join forces as CyNam Academic Sponsors 2022/2023

We are pleased to announce that our long-term academic partner Gloucestershire College has continued its sponsorship support of CyNam for another year.

Not only has Gloucestershire College pledged to continue its support of CyNam into 2023, but we are delighted to announce that the University of West of England (UWE) has partnered with Gloucestershire College as our academic sponsors for the coming year.

 

“We’re thrilled to sponsor CyNam for a third year running, and to further strengthen our partnership with UWE Bristol in what promises to be an exciting year. Our joint NCSC-accredited cyber degree apprenticeship continues to prove invaluable to employers and we look forward to launching the new Digital and Technology Solutions (DATS) degree apprenticeship in September 2023.”

 

“CyNam is a key driver in the region’s cyber skills growth agenda and our sponsorship reflects the continued alignment of our strategies and mission to attract, develop and retain talent in Gloucestershire.”

 

The key drivers for Gloucestershire College and UWE in further developing their relationship with CyNam have been the recent successes in engaging young people in not only the Cyber Apprenticeship Degree program but promoting the virtues of the level 3 & 4 apprenticeships too.

 

This year the plan is to further bolster the communications to employers about the value of Level 3 & 4 apprenticeships and upcoming new courses available as apprenticeships such as Software and Networking and DevOps.

 

And the effort doesn’t just stop at apprenticeships and young people – the Glos Col/UWE offer is open to more mature members who may be looking to reskill and retrain.

 

UWE is recognized by NCSC as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Education and is committed to developing cyber security education across the region, through our teaching, research, outreach and industry engagement. We offer our MSc Cyber Security and BSc Cyber Security and Digital Forensics courses in Bristol, as well as our BSc Information Technology (Top Up) and our BSc Cyber Security Technical Professional Degree Apprenticeship that both run in Cheltenham in conjunction with Gloucestershire College. We host a variety of events in the region to help upskill teachers and industry, as well as outreach events for school students including our Unlock Cyber events and our support of the CyberFirst Schools initiative.

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Bournside Cyber Day

There’s nothing quite like inspiring 300 enthusiastic students and teaching them about the wonderful world of cyber security!

We were thrilled to host our first cyber day at Bournside school in Cheltenham and help inspire 300 of their enthusiastic year 7 students! With the help of our community and an awesome group of industry pro’s, we gave the students a flavour of the cyber security industry through a range of interactive activities and workshops.

We had a total of 8 companies join us to run sessions, with activities ranging from lock picking and writing phishing emails, to real life flying drones! We also had a visit from the DigiBus which was parked outside on the school campus. The students loved it!

Our cyber days wouldn’t be possible without the help of our community, so a huge thank you to all the industries that supported us. CACI, BAE Systems, Cyber First, North Green Security, Amiosec, DigiBus, Gemba Advantage, Cybsafe

And of course, another huge thank you to Bournside school for hosting us. It was great to see so many of your students excited about a possible career in the cyber industry. We think Bournside may be home to a lot of future cyber entrepreneurs!

If you would like to get involved with any of our future cyber days, please get in touch with us! info@cynam.org

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Work Experience 2022

They say “it takes a village to raise a child.” We say “it takes a community to inspire a young person.” No truer word was said as CyNam took on a work experience student for the first time! We were delighted to be joined by Callum from Barnwood Park School.

 

As a hybrid and tiny team of five people, we knew it would be a challenge conveying the breadth of our industry in just five days, heavy workloads, as well as ensuring the experience was as fulfilling as possible for the student (ahhhh, ok – maybe ourselves too!).

 

So, we designed a timetable of activities to do over the five days. As well as this, we reached out our community to see where they could help spend time with a student, talk about what they do and (hopefully) inspire them to consider a future in cyber and technology.

 

So, what did we get up to with our community?

 

  • Talking all things pen testing with Chris from Synack
  • Discussing the evolution of a developing investment community with Abby Taylor
  • Dan Humphries from Sopra Steria shared his journey into IT 
  • What makes a kick-ass community spirit with the team at Hub8 – huge shout outs to Cam, Tom and the Hub8 team.
  • Meeting successful tech entrepreneurs like Martyn Gill from ORNA Inc

     

But it has to be said, our favourite day was spent at the Infrastar offices in Gloucester, where Glenn Griffin and his team very generously gave up a whole day of their time to spend with us (and fed us cakes and gave us loads of merch!). We watched a network scanning software run through the office networks and we infiltrated a printer and printed off a smiley face – y’know – just for fun! 

 

Finally, Glenn arranged for an intro to astrophysicist Rob from Braided Communications who has developed a new communication based on deep space communication tools for astronauts, which he demoed.

 

Our community were brilliant in coming together to support Callum, and we can’t thank all the organisations that helped us enough. If you would like to support an enthusiastic student, please get in touch with us!

But, don’t just take the great feedback from us. Here’s Callum’s feedback about his work experience week:

 

 

 

 

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Over 25 schools in the South West register to become an NCSC CyberFirst School. 

The CyberFirst Schools initiative, from  the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC)  – a part of GCHQ – was in full swing this month, as members of the delivery consortium headed into key events to showcase the benefits of joining the programme to computer science teachers across the South West. 

The consortium, made of Raytheon, Tech Spark, The South West Cyber Security Cluster and CyNam, attended the Festival of Computer Science in Plymouth and set up industry and schools engagement events in Bristol and Gloucestershire to collect Expressions of Interest from schools and industry partners in the region. 

Over 25 schools across the South West have now registered their interest in applying for the CyberFirst Schools programme, which officially recognises schools and colleges that demonstrate first-rate cyber security education. If they are all successful in their applications, this will more than double the number of   CyberFirst schools and colleges in the South West looking to bolster their computer science curriculums, teaching and student experiences. Successful schools will also enjoy continuous professional development for teachers, as well as a series of bespoke activities for students tailored to each school’s needs – created by industry partners and  supported by a team of CyberFirst ambassadors. 

Following an initial pilot in Gloucestershire, the CyberFirst Schools initiative was launched by the NCSC in 2020 to encourage collaboration between local schools, the NCSC, national and local companies and organisations who share the aim of encouraging young people to engage with computer science and the application of cyber security in everyday technology. 

 In 2021 it was further extended to include secondary schools and colleges in Northern Ireland, the South West of England (Dorset, Cornwall Devon, Somerset & Wiltshire) and the North East of England (Durham, Tyne & Wear, Northumberland). 

The South West consortium have been awarded the pilot contract for delivering the CyberFirst Schools initiative in the South West of England. 

On behalf of the NCSC, they will manage the assessment and evaluation of CyberFirst School applications; the growth of the CyberFirst Schools community in the area, and help facilitate engagement between industry and schools in the region to enable e-mentoring and work experience. 

A special mention must be made to the CyberFirst Schools volunteers, who have been recently supporting the consortium and who are responsible for driving the CyberFirst Schools programme for the last few years. Without the efforts of the CyberFirst Ambassadors, and specifically the expertise of Rebekkah Bishop (kindly volunteering on behalf of organisation CACI). This collaboration has given real momentum to the project and we are looking forward to making some real impact in furthering cyber education throughout 2022.

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CyNam Strategy 2022 and Beyond.

As a community impact organisation, it’s of the utmost importance to us to share with our community the activities and initiatives that we intend to embark on for the near future.
That’s why we have the pleasure of sharing with you our strategic objectives for the next three years.

We have created these objectives over the past three months, based on feedback from community stakeholders from across the breadth of the ecosystem, the guiding principles of UKC3, the Local Industrial Strategy and the National Cyber Strategy.

We hope we have identified and prioritised what matters most to this community and what collectively we must do to attempt to solve the challenges in the cyber/tech sector in Gloucestershire and beyond to ensure a prosperous and safe future for all.

In the strategy, you can see a non-exhaustive list of initiatives that we intend to pursue to achieve the objectives and what it may cost to execute them. As a non-profit organisation we hope to raise funds from our continued project and pilot work, as well as generous donations from sponsors who wish to pay an active role in achieving these objectives.

Read the strategy here

The CyNam Team

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Inspiring Gloucestershire Women in Tech 2022

Here at CyNam, we understand the importance of celebrating the female talent we have in the Gloucestershire cyber tech region. We we’re delighted to be able highlight some of this talent by teaming up with our friends over at Bamboo Technology, Savient and Hub8 to run our ‘Inspiring Gloucestershire Women in Tech 2022’ campaign.

In the weeks leading up to International Women’s Day 2022, we put a call to action out to our community asking people to nominate someone inspiring to them within the Gloucestershire cyber tech industry. We were delighted with the response we received, and the kind words included within the nominations.

Congratulations to everyone who features in the list below. We’re delighted to be able to give recognition to the incredible work you’re doing.

Katie Roden- CGI

Rachel Richardson- Logiq Consulting

Jessica Barder- PinPoint Media

Annys Samuel- Sopra Steria

Emilia Edwards- Lockheed Martin

Gemma Moore- Cyberis

Olena Whatley- Claranet Ltd

Beth Moodley- Claranet Ltd

Sian Ellison- Claranet Ltd

Anna Lythgoe- Anna Lythgoe Photography

Helen Cookson- Claranet Ltd

Julie Deane- Northrop Grumman Corporation 

Sarah Wakefield – Claranet Ltd

Vicky Newby- Claranet Ltd

Corinna Elliot- Claranet Ltd

Emily Mann- Claranet Ltd

Vicky Newby-  Claranet Ltd

Ruth Llewellyn- Claranet Ltd

Ellen Morgan- Claranet Ltd

Alison Steadman- Claranet Ltd

Sarah Davey- Claranet Ltd

Aysha Marty- BAE Systems

Lauren Astell- Red Maple Technologies

Jess Booth- Salus

Katie CoxOriginal Consultants Ltd ·

Hannah Weaving- Savient Limited

Carrie-Ann Murphy- Optimising IT

Pranith Accapanda- Gloucestershire College

Charlie Haward- Optimising IT

Melanie Vinton- Horsebridge Network Systems

Sarah James- Savient Ltd

Sophie James- Savient Ltd

Gwynneth Kempster- Savient Ltd

Emilia Edwards- Lockheed Martin  

Anne-Marie Rocca- Sopra Steria

Chani Martin- M&M Marketing and Merchandise

Lindsay Babbage- Datasource Recruitment

Emily Smith- Datasource Recruitment

Catherine Rooney- Danzen

Eleanor Upson- ORNA Inc

Talea La Gard- Hub8

Sarah Kingham

Okafor Sandra- University of the West of England

Barbara Mabombo- Bamboo Technology Group

April Trigg- Brace Creative Agency

Ellen Smith- Bamboo Technology Group Ltd

Gill H- Public Sector

Illyana Mullins- Hub8

                                                 Congratulations everyone!