Designed to help bring ideas to life.

HutZero is run by Cyber London, Europe’s first cyber accelerator and the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen’s University Belfast.


Issued by CyLon - Europe’s leading cyber-security accelerator based in Hammersmith, London

UK Government’s quest to bolster cyber defences continues with early-stage ‘bootcamp’ for up-and-coming talent

6 September 2017  

In the same week news broke that UK universities are being successfully targeted by cyber gangs and Equifax suffered a major cyber breach, the UK Government is investing in the talent to create new cyber security businesses and bolster the UK’s credentials as a global centre for cyber security expertise. 

Twenty-eight cyber entrepreneurs competed for their place on HutZero the government-backed week-long 'bootcamp' that includes training and mentoring by some of Britain’s best cyber brains and cyber security companies. 

Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital and Culture commented:

“The HutZero programme, supported by the Government's National Cyber Security Programme, has once again attracted an incredible pool of budding entrepreneurs. It is vitally important we maintain the growth of our booming cyber security industry by nurturing new talent, thus supporting the wider cyber ecosystem with a pipeline of new companies coming through.”

CyLon – Europe’s leading cyber-security accelerator based in Hammersmith, London – and the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen’s University, Belfast – run the programme.

CyLon’s co-founder Jonathan Luff said: 

“There are many people who have cyber skills and really great ideas that could help safeguard our institutions and businesses. But they need the know-how to get their businesses up-and-running. 

“The HutZero programme brings these people together, connects them with serious cyber talent, and helps them shape their ideas into something that could become a successful business.

“The UK Government is leading the way by sponsoring a programme like this – nothing like it exists anywhere else in Europe - and the competition to join is intense.”

Participants graduating today include academics, ex-military personnel and corporate cyber experts. 

Serving Royal Marine officer Gordon Sweny said:

“I’ve served 13 years in the Marines, and my last job has been in electronic warfare and there is a lot of cross over with cyber security, so I’m interested to bring my skills and experience into this sector when I leave the Marines.”

Getting more women involved in cyber security is a key aim of the Government and the National Cyber Security Centre. Amongst the five women graduating from the HutZero programme today are data scientist, Nayyar Kazmi, Oxford University PhD Student, Elizabeth Phillips and Katie Lips, a Strategy Consultant. 

Nayyar Kazmi has worked in various industries and has a strong computer science, statistics and mathematical background but her aim is to develop her career in data analytics, she said: 

“When I came here [the HutZero programme] I thought I knew a lot about being an entrepreneur, but after a few days – it’s like an onion unfolding itself, and its dawning on me now that it is not that easy!”

“HutZero gives me an opportunity to really think what I want to do, what I can do and how to fill the gap that I cannot do. 

“There are so many people here who have developed such great ideas. I think, if they can do it, so can I.”


Kirsten Connell, Managing Director of CyLon and the course organizer said: 

“We’re delighted to see more women getting involved in cyber security. HutZero is just one of the programmes we run, and each time we welcome more and more women, many of them go on to run successful businesses. The Government’s message seems to be getting through but there’s a long way to go yet.”


Notes for Editors

1.     Spokespeople are available for interview. Photographs, video and audio clips also available.

2.     Go to for further details of the programme.

3.     Cyber London 

Europe's leading cyber security accelerator, helping to develop the cyber security companies of tomorrow. They have accelerated 38 companies to date and are the 7th most active investor in cyber security globally.

4.     CSIT, Queen’s University, Belfast

The Centre for Secure Information Technologies at Queen’s University Belfast is the UK’s national Innovation and Knowledge Centre (IKC) for cyber security. CSIT has been honoured with The Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education 2015, for its work in cyber security.

CyLon Press Contacts: Vickie Sheriff 0771 340 2203 and Niki Hinman 07969 421448