Start-ups are being offered unique chance to work with national spy agency

GCHQ in Cheltenham

A ground-breaking scheme will give start-up companies in Manchester the chance to work with GCHQ.

The national spy agency is launching a unique project with security specialist Cisco and Manchester Science Partnership.

The initiative has been announced just months after GCHQ revealed it is setting up a new office in Manchester with the aim of tapping into the talent on offer in the region.

As part of the new scheme an ‘engineer accelerator’ is being created in the heart of Manchester.

Cisco is one of the world’s leading security organisations. It has almost 30 years of experience in the UK, a network of over 500,000 developers and the resources of a multi-billion dollar global business.

The project will see 25 entrepreneurs and start-up firms with cutting-edge products given the chance to work with GCHQ.

Applications are now open software engineers to join the new three-month programme which will be an integral part of developing GCHQ methodologies and capabilities.

Nick Chrissos, director of innovation at Cisco Europe, said: “We believe that collaborative innovation holds the answer to making the world a better, and in this case safer, place to live and do business.

“Doing things in a completely different way, creating new solutions, business models – even new markets.

“We’re extremely proud to have been asked by GCHQ to help apply our global expertise – particularly that built locally with MSP – to help GCHQ engage with the best and brightest of engineering talent.”

Jeremy Fleming

Jeremy Fleming, Director GCHQ said: “I’m pleased to announce our new GCHQ Engineering Accelerator in the heart of Manchester.

“Building on the success of our Cyber Accelerator, we will help the most innovative and creative tech start-ups develop cutting-edge products and contribute to the nation’s security.

“It’s also an amazing opportunity for GCHQ to engage with the vibrant tech community in Manchester ahead of the formal opening of our new office in 2019.

“I am really excited about our partnership with Wayra and our new Accelerator in Manchester.


“It gives us a chance to tap into that talent and use it to help us with some of our hardest problems.

“It puts Manchester right into the heart of our mission to keep the UK and our digital homeland safe and secure.”

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “We look forward to GCHQ’s expansion into Manchester City Centre in summer next year, creating hundreds of jobs and complementing our thriving innovation culture.

“The Manchester Engineering Accelerator is an exciting early example of how their expertise will help further stimulate that tech sector and actively help promising ideas get off the ground.”