TWO Malvern companies, D-Ris Q Ltd of Walwyn Road and C2B2 of Malvern Hills Science Park, are among seven from the Severn Valley cyber security hotspot to have been selected as winners in the latest Launchpad competition, organised by the UK’s innovation agency the Technology Strategy Board.

The group will benefit from a total of £500,000 to carry out research and development projects as part of the Severn Valley Cyber Launchpad competition.

Introduced at the end of 2013, the initiative is designed to stimulate growth as well as draw investment and cyber security expertise into the area to encourage collaboration to strengthen the cluster. With financial backing and business support from the Technology Strategy Board, the winners will now collaborate and develop new technologies and techniques that will enable the public to conduct business, commerce and live private lives digitally, in a safe environment.

Universities and science minister David Willetts said: "Today countries that can manage cyber security risks have a clear competitive advantage. These innovative companies, backed by Government investment, will ensure the UK has the technology we need to protect our data and take full advantage of this growth industry.”

With businesses located either side of the River Severn, the cluster runs through Malvern, Cheltenham, Gloucester and Bristol and across to Newport and Cardiff. According to the latest report from the Department of Business Innovation & Skills, the cyber security market in the UK is currently worth almost £2.8b and is forecast to be worth over £3.4b by 2017. With 14 per cent of the UK’s cyber security companies located within this area, the region is presenting itself to be a hotbed for innovation within this sector. The competition, supported by Malvern Cyber Security Cluster founder Key IQ Ltd, will encourage this huddling effect to help these companies develop the already vibrant area, and funding will be used to accelerate the economic growth of the winning companies and the cluster as a whole.

Iain Gray, chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board added: "Cyber security technologies are emerging all over the UK, to meet the demand for network and data protection. As one of the most buoyant and fastest growing segments of the IT industry, it is essential we help to facilitate its growth and development Networking, clustering and knowledge sharing are essential to the success of cyber security industries, and concentrations of expertise can achieve much more than isolated companies. The winners of this Launchpad are pushing the boundaries of innovation within this important market and by providing the winners with the necessary support, connections and expertise, we will help take these projects to commercialisation.”