Director and co-founder of Cyphra, Conrad Simpson, attended a roundtable discussion in the cabinet room at No.10 Downing Street yesterday chaired by Prime Minister Theresa May and the Chancellor Philip Hammond. The discussion covered how the Government could best support new and growing technology companies across the UK and included a number of Government ministers and other leaders from the UK Tech sector.
Conrad stated that it was a very interesting experience and that “the discussion was surprisingly free-flowing with the Prime Minister and Chancellor genuinely keen to hear our views and experiences.” Conrad talked about the need to ensure that good security was embedded in digital innovation as this provided the user trust that was vital to technology adoption. He also was able to highlight the need for cyber skills development to address the shortfall in the industry, “ I noted that there was no short-term fix to this problem, but the answer needed to include educating students earlier in cyber as a career and the need to improve diversity in this sector”
The PM announced a new package of support to ensure the UK remains at the forefront of global innovation, which included:
- The launch of a £20 million training programme, Cyber Discovery, which will challenge thousands of young people aged between 14 and 18 to test their skills against simulated online cyber threats
- An investment of £21 million to expand Tech City UK into a nationwide network – Tech Nation – to accelerate the growth of the digital tech sector across the country
- A new £20 million fund to help public services take advantage of UK expertise in innovative technologies like Artificial Intelligence
- Doubling to 2,000 the number of visas available to the brightest and best talent from around the world, including in digital technology
The new funding for Tech Nation will see the organisation expand its successful hub model to more cities around the country, including Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Birmingham. Building on the work of existing regional clusters, Tech Nation will support 40,000 entrepreneurs and up to 4,000 start-ups as they scale their businesses.
Following the roundtable there was a reception where Conrad was able to network with some of the brightest talent from the UK’s tech community.