Securing Success: Strategic Questions for Cyber Startups Seeking Growth in the West Midlands and UK

This article outlines critical questions that cyber security startups, particularly those like Cyber Tzar after completing the NCSC’s “NCSC for Startups” Accelerator programme, should consider when seeking support from regional organizations such as the West Midlands Growth Company or Invest West Midlands. It emphasizes prioritising inquiries around funding and marketing to harness regional opportunities for development and expansion.

Example Organisations

These questions apply to any organisations offering help to businesses grow, but I’ve focused on these two related organisations in the West Midlands, as a way to make it relevant to us (also they are related too). The organisations used as examples are:

  • The West Midlands Growth Company (WMGC): focuses on inward investment, tourism, and capital attraction, aiming to expand the region’s economy and support businesses. They offer a partner program for companies looking to grow their business and support regional economic expansion.
  • Invest West Midlands: is focused on attracting foreign direct investment and supporting large capital investments in the region. They work with businesses on expanding and relocating to the UK’s innovation heartland, leveraging local sector talent and government partnerships. Their support is particularly relevant for sectors including creative & digital technologies, highlighting the region’s strengths in cyber security innovation and other tech fields.

Example Questions

For an organisation like Cyber Tzar, having recently completed the NCSC’s “NCSC for Startups” Accelerator program, the following questions could be beneficial to ask both West Midlands Growth Company (WMGC) and Invest West Midlands:

Prioritising the questions based on funding first, then marketing, and thirdly joint working, the list would look something like this:

  1. What funding opportunities or financial incentives are available for startups in the cyber security space? – Directly addresses the funding aspect, seeking information on financial support for your startup.
  2. Can you provide assistance with accessing local and regional networks for business development, including potential customers, partners, and investors? – Networking can lead to funding opportunities through investors and partnerships.
  3. Are there any ongoing or upcoming accelerator programs or innovation hubs that specialize in cyber security or related technologies? – Accelerators often provide funding, mentorship, and marketing opportunities.
  4. What specific support and services do you offer to cyber security startups? – This could uncover specific funding or marketing services.
  5. What are the key events or forums in the West Midlands where we can showcase our solutions and network with potential clients and partners? – Events are a great marketing tool for visibility.
  6. How do you assist startups in scaling both within the UK and internationally? – Scaling involves both funding for growth and marketing strategies for entering new markets.
  7. How can we leverage the region’s talent pool, including graduates from local universities, for hiring needs? – Talent acquisition is essential for both developing your product (funding efficiency) and marketing (building a team that can strategize and execute marketing plans).
  8. Are there any mentorship or advisory services available through your organization or its partners for early-stage companies? – Mentors can offer guidance on securing funding and effective marketing strategies.
  9. What opportunities exist for collaboration with local government and industry on cyber security initiatives? – Collaborations can provide funding avenues and marketing opportunities through exposure.
  10. How can we access R&D facilities and commercial test beds for developing and testing our products? – Access to these facilities can help in product development, indirectly supporting funding and marketing by ensuring the product meets market needs.

These questions prioritise identifying and securing funding, followed by leveraging available resources for marketing and business development purposes.