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article imageLondon's new digital accelerator hub

By Tim Sandle     Oct 31, 2018 in Technology
London - Keen to establish London as a global digital tech center, a new accelerator has been set up with backing from the U.K. government. Nine firms specializing in cybersecurity are the first cohorts.
Located in Stratford, East London, is LORCA, a digital hub and accelerator established by the U.K. government. This part of East London was once run down, with a featureless shopping center and an air of better times past. Now, along with other projects aimed at gentrifying the area, like a plush shopping complex and the 2012 Olympic Park, Stratford is becoming a magnet for millennials, including those drawn to the technology sector.
LORCA is an acronym for the London Office for Rapid Cyber Security Advancement. A rather long winded way of capturing the U.K.'s attempt to become a world leader in all things cybersecurity, whether the acronym came first and the words forming the initials were dropped in afterwards is a matter of conjecture.
LORCA was established by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (the inclusion of sport sits a little uncomfortably with the department's overall remit) to the tune of £12.5 ($16 million). The remit of LORCA is to foster the acceleration of cyber security startup firms. To date there are nine companies connected with the accelerator, working on projects that will help to protect businesses, the government, and wider society from cyberattack.
The nine fledgling companies were chosen by LORCA staff, and they represent firms with ideas that can help fill in the digital cracks that pepper the U.K. cyber network. Some of the weaknesses facing British-based businesses were highlighted in the British government's 2016 National Cyber Security Strategy. The strategy states: "The vision for 2021 is that the UK is secure and resilient to cyber threats, prosperous and confident in the digital world."
The selection criteria for the nine companies was based on three identified industry requirements. First among the selection criteria was privacy and with making trust in a business a competitive advantage. Secondly, was mechanisms to enable a firm to have in-depth oversight over their critical digital architecture. And third, using automation for the automation for threat assessment.
The center is coordinated by Lydia Ragoonanan, and she tells New Statesman magazine that each startup will receive six months of intensive support from experts, followed up a further six months of follow-up support, focused on getting the output of the innovation stage to market.
As well as addressing security flaws, the center also seeks to boost the economy by creating British based firms that will develop global reputations as cybersecurity leaders. In time, LORCA is expected to become self-sufficient.
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