By Daniel Hunter

The UK government is teaming up with the US to help small businesses tackle the growing threat of cyber crime.

Speaking at the first ever UK-US Global Cyber Innovation Summit in London, Business Secretary Vince Cable will today (Monday) announce a £4 million competition for UK cyber businesses to develop and design new ideas on how to tackle cyber crime.

He will also announce the appointment of a cyber security small business champion, and funding for projects that will drive growth and innovation in the sector. The competition will be run by the Technology Strategy Board, the government’s innovation agency, in 2015, which will award funding to the firms with the best ideas.

Ahead of the summit, Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

"The growth of the cyber security sector in the UK is a great success story, worth over £6 billion and employing around 40,000 people. Building a strong and resilient cyberspace in the UK is central to ensuring that our companies can make the most of business opportunities online, whilst avoiding potentially costly threats to the information they hold and the services they provide.

"Maintaining innovation and growth requires continued investment. Committing a further £4 million will help businesses of all sizes turn their ideas to counter cyber threats into reality. Partnering with industry experts will also increase the opportunities for the UK’s small cyber companies to work together and grow their businesses."

The Business Secretary will announce the appointment of cyber security small business champion, Andy Williams, an industry expert from the UK’s largest technology trade association techUK. Andy will be responsible for mapping cyber security small businesses, and will set up a UK wide growth project to encourage them to work closer together. His role will also involve working to showcase the capability of small and medium sized cyber businesses at UK and international events, delivering business advice and establishing an online portal to share information about national initiatives with the cyber business community.

Andy Williams said:

"Given the rapidly evolving global cyber threat landscape, the emergence of highly innovative and agile new companies with specialist cyber capability will be vital to ensuring the future safety and prosperity of the UK. The extra funding that BIS is providing to support cyber start-ups and small business will be key to ensuring the UK’s position as a global leader in cyber security.

"The Business Secretary will also announce that Dr Emma Philpott, managing director of cyber and technology catalyst Key IQ, will lead a project to actively work with local volunteers to establish regional clusters of small companies working in cyber security. This network of clusters will link the small and medium sized businesses to national opportunities and events while giving them a collective voice. She will bring considerable expertise to the role as the founder of both the Malvern cyber security cluster and the UK Cyber Security Forum."

Dr Emma Philpott said:

"Small companies working in cyber security are active all across the UK. The clusters we are helping to set up will meet monthly, be free to join and give their members an opportunity to network together and partner each other. We have had enormous enthusiasm for this already and groups are already planned for 5 new regions."

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