Cyber 101 – 5 Year National Programme Commissioned by DCMS

The Accelerator Network, along with Digital Catapult, was commissioned by DCMS to build the Cyber 101 national programme to support and upskill Cyber SMEs. The programme ran between January 2017 to March 2021 as part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) funded activity to grow the UK’s cyber security sector and the capability of cyber security startups and scaleups. The programme was a key part of the first National Cyber Security Strategy, led by the Government, collaborating with the private sector. The programme delivered 3 core components via Business Skills Bootcamps with tailored advice from industry experts on how to develop and scale up cyber business, Deep Dives to discover solutions on how to transform key challenges into business opportunities, and Demo Days showcasing pitches of solutions to customers, partners and investors.

Ian Merricks, Chair of The Accelerator Network shared: “It was my great pleasure to host the 5 year celebration of the DCMS backed Cyber 101 initiative that The Accelerator Network and Digital Catapult plus partners have delivered since 2017. The Zoom-hosted celebration on 25 March, 2021 had a guest introduction from Minister of Digital Infrastructure, Matt Warman MP, praising our work as an “immense achievement” and one that “DCMS has been really proud to support over the course of the current cybersecurity strategy”. The occasion was an opportunity to pause and reflect on the important work done by Cyber 101; as the Minister said, “a huge testament to the hard work that delivery partners have put in not just to give their cohorts of SMEs a foundation in essential business skills, but also in introducing them to potential customers and investors”.  

Highlights included:

  • 231 startups supported UK wide
  • 70+ events delivered
  • £87m raised, with a majority positive to raising investment in 2021
  • 72% expect revenue growth
  • 75% achieved a collaboration with corporates, peer SMEs, academia and research organisations 
  • 60% achieved international growth in new markets including accessing support from DIT
  • 68% plan to hire additional staff in 2021

To achieve this, collaboration and connectivity was the over-riding theme that The Accelerator Network ensured, with ground breaking involvement across the entire sector.  

  • Government (BEIS, DCMS, DIT, NCSC, Cabinet Office),
  • Corporates (BAE Systems, Qinetiq, Dell, Siemens, Visa)
  • Academia (esp CSIT & RHUL and ACEs)
  • Investors (Pre-Seed, Seed & Series A)
  • Regional Clusters (UK wide)
  • Service Providers (Marriott Harrison, Beavis Morgan)

Connections facilitated via Cyber101 included signposting to other cyber security programmes and further support in the ecosystem, alongside positioning cyber as an underpinning layer for other digital technology startups in AI and IoT.  

As the first 5 years concluded, we collectively celebrate Cyber101 playing an integral part in creating an effective and sustainable UK cyber ecosystem by delivering against the original goals and providing essential connectivity for the cyber sector.


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