GCHQ has opened applications for their new start-up accelerator with two Salford based companies, The Landing and UP Ventures.

Though the companies are looking beyond Salford, as they hope to attract start-ups from across the North-West of England into their 16 week programme.

GCHQ’s Deputy Director for Manchester said in their announcement: “This Accelerator programme is an early chance for us to get working with the buzzing tech community in the North West.

“We look forward to building relationships with a diverse range of technologists, creatives and entrepreneurs.”

The accelerator’s central theme will be citizen digital safety, focusing on providing life impacting solutions for vulnerable people across the region, GCHQ outlined in their announcement. The three companies behind the programme are therefore hoping to appeal to companies that have used technology creatively to make a difference in everyday life.

But for those who don’t know, an accelerator is a programme where new ideas thought up by smaller start-ups are developed using the resources and expertise provided by the companies behind it.

Those being The Landing, a workspace and technology lab, and UP ventures, a technology accelerator and investment group, both based in MediaCityUK. The two companies are also currently working on a similar project called the ‘Greater Manchester Future of Health Challenge’ in partnership with Novartis, as well as Google and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust.

Danny Meaney, CEO of UP Ventures, said on the announcement of the new programme about citizen digital safety:

“We’re excited to help bring another initiative to the market that has the potential to make a meaningful impact on people’s lives through applied technology here in Greater Manchester and the North West.”

The central headquarters for Government Communications in Cheltenham Credit: Barry Batchelor/PA Archive/PA Images

This news comes as GCHQ chief Jeremy Fleming revealed the organisation’s latest recruitment drive will be targeting dyslexic and neurodiverse people.

In addition, GCHQ agents will soon be moving into their new offices in the newly renovated Heron House, in Manchester’s City Centre. This will be the first city centre office for the organisation, outside of its central offices in Cheltenham.

The new offices which are set to open later this year will be located opposite Manchester’s town hall, above a Slug and Lettuce.

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