You may have heard about this great new scheme launched by the government last month, I did and wanted to find out more. This new UK £1m cyber security innovation vouchers scheme is aimed at small to medium sized businesses (SMEs). The voucher worth up to £5,000 assists companies with cyber security by utilising a specialist in the field. It was really reassuring to see that the government was taking cyber security so seriously and wanted to help companies put guidelines and practices in place. The press release stated that it would encourage companies to adopt the Cyber Essentials Scheme that has been developed by the Government and industry professionals to enable businesses to:
- Implement controls that reduce the risk of internet based hazards within the context of the Governments 10 steps to cyber security and help organisations to show to customers, insurers and investors that the safeguarding provisions have been made.
- Undertaking the Assurance framework, which leads to the awarding of Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus certificate.
The article also detailed how Innovate UK was aiming to make the UK the “world leader in cyber security” and how the scheme would “give cyber-confidence for businesses and consumers to help our digital economy to flourish”. These are things that not only interest me as an employee whose company could benefit from this scheme but also as someone who could spread the word to a multitude of customers.
Sadly, not all was as it seemed…
I eagerly awaited the application details and what I have found is really disappoing. The application webpage specifies that it is actually a competition to win a voucher for £5,000 under the Innovations Vouchers scheme. I feel that the original article was completely misleading and gives the impression that this is a tag on to the Innovations Vouchers Scheme, enticing more people to enter their “prize draw” rather than a serious cash injection in to cyber security in the UK. This gimmick, to me, does not constitute an answer to the problems and it is really disconcerting that the pitfalls companies face was outlined in the article.
The application can be for any of the following reasons, not just cyber security and involves 4 pages of questions and up to 2000 words describing the professional you are going to use, how and why.
- advice on an innovative idea for a new or improved product or service
- learn more about using design within your business
- learn more about the management and use of your intellectual property
The application details advise that vouchers cannot be used for the purchase of training although the Innovate web page states that.
“You can get an Innovation Voucher worth up to £5,000 to pay for an external expert. This expert will give you advice on cyber security for your business and may be able to help you acquire certification through Cyber Essentials”.
The scheme opened on the 27th July and closes the 20th Oct 2015. To be eligible to apply you must meet the following criteria –
- be starting up or running a micro, small or medium-sized UK business
- have not worked with this expert before
- need help with something that’s a real challenge for your business, not just a small improvement or change
- have not had an Innovation Voucher from Innovate UK or the Technology Strategy Board before
By applying, you are entering a competition, not applying for funding.
If you would like further information the Guidance for Applicants document will help you to decide if your project is eligible, or you can contact our helpline on 0300 321 4357 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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