21 Mar 2017

BT outlines how SME innovations can power public services

Keeping our nation safe against an unprecedented number of security risks is arguably one of the biggest challenges of our time. Working with the Cabinet Office and TechHub, BT is searching for innovative small businesses that can make a real difference in the fight against cyber-crime.

With high profile security breaches making headlines around the world, cyber security and the challenges it presents are a concern for all; from the boardroom to the breakfast table. 

Re-thinking the risk

Research last year from BT and KPMG shows that for large businesses 97% of IT decision makers have experienced a cyber- attack, with half of them reporting an increase in the last two years. However, it’s not just multinational corporations that face threats to their cyber security. Ben Gummer, minister for the cabinet office and paymaster general, says, “Small and medium-sized businesses make a huge contribution to our economy and account for over 99 per cent of all private sector businesses. Entrepreneurs, risk-takers, family businesses and start-ups have created more than 2.7 million jobs and launched almost a million new businesses since 2010.”

Unlike their larger counterparts, SMEs often have a more diverse and flexible approach to traditional challenges. This is why, for the third year, BT’s SME Award – in 2017 focused on ‘Securing the Nation’ -  is giving the UK’s SMEs the opportunity to demonstrate their innovative solutions to protecting data for businesses and the public sector.

BT SME Award 2017 – Securing the Nation

BT is giving SMEs the chance to showcase their new technology and product ideas within three award categories: cyber security; Data collection, mining and analytics; and digital innovation. 

The winners of each category will be awarded a cash prize of £10,000, plus six months’ flex membership at TechHub’s London start-up space. As part of BT’s commitment to cyber security, the winners will also have the opportunity to work with BT to explore technical and commercial partnerships to bring their solutions to market with BT.

•    Cyber Security – looking for innovations that could help to keep data secure and protect critical national infrastructure for both the public sector and businesses?
•    Data collection, mining and analytics – for SMEs to help the Police and Home Office to tackle critical social issues such as modern slavery and human trafficking, BT is looking for SMEs who are developing solutions around data collection, mining and analytics from technology areas ranging from smartphone apps to big data and the dark web.
•    Digital innovation – for innovation in disruptive digital and communication services to help make the UK a safer place to live and do business.

In 2016, See.Sense were the winners of the competition, which focused on shaping connected cities of the future. As a company which aims to use technology to make cycling and cities safer, smarter and more enjoyable, they won for  their ICON intelligent and connected cycle light, which was judged to have the greatest potential to make a difference to the cities of the future. 

2017’s awards are set to find a business that thrives on innovation and has the skills and knowledge to take on the challenge of helping to battle the prominent threat of cyber security in the 21st century. 

Judging will take place at the BT Tower on Tuesday, 4 April where SMEs will present to a panel of experts spanning security, innovation, defence and other public services.  

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