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Firms urged to apply for ground-breaking GCHQ Manchester ‘Engineering Accelerator’

GCHQ, the government’s top secret intelligence and security organisation is about to relocate to Manchester – a move that will result in hundreds of jobs for the region.

The organisation is announcing its arrival in Greater Manchester by launching a competition that will see twenty to twenty-five of Manchester’s finest minds take part in GCHQ's first-ever engineering accelerator.

The ground-breaking initiative has been launched to directly support GCHQ's recently-announced expansion into the City of Manchester and will bring together GCHQ and industry expertise to develop new technology businesses.

Entrepreneurs and start-up firms with cutting-edge products are now being invited to apply to join the accelerator, which will run for three months from 9 Jan – 28 March 2019.


So, if you want to follow in the footsteps of Alan Turing and enjoy this unique opportunity to work with GCHQ and its partners, make sure you apply today by clicking here.

The programme, which will be an integral part of developing GCHQ methodologies and capabilities, will see entrepreneurs asked to pitch ideas for development under broad headings such as

  • Modelling the Science of Analysis
  • Machine Learning
  • Policy and Process Automation
  • Visualisation of Data Engineering
  • Software-Defined Everything


The programme is supported by worldwide technology leader Cisco, and the UK’s leading science and technology park operator Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP)

Collectively, Cisco and MSP have collaborated on innovation centres, projects and virtual collectives with a joint network of innovators, scientists, investors and entrepreneurs enabling people to transform ideas into commercial reality.

Collaboration between Cisco and MSP has played a vital role in the development of the digital economy in the North of England, and will play a key part in the creation of GCHQ’s newest Accelerator ‘Powered by Wayra’.

Wayra UK, part of Telefónica Open Future, will manage the provision of business coaches and mentors, access to investors and industry leaders. The selected start-ups will receive benefits to help them scale all aspects of their businesses, including office space, mentoring and contact with an extensive investor network. The companies will also have use of dynamic office spaces in the heart of Manchester, coupled with networking opportunities with industry and academia.

The applications window runs from 10 Sept – 19 October and no equity will be taken from participants.

Apply now!

What will GCHQ’s move mean for Greater Manchester?

Following giants such as Auto Trader, the BBC, and Rental Cars opting to relocate to Manchester, GCHQ's decision to join the region contributes to the ever-growing consensus that Manchester is the UK's biggest tech hub outside of London.

With its strong innovation ethos, access to talent and engineering heritage, the city was always well-positioned to attract both GCHQ and the accelerator to the region.

This move will help start-ups rapidly develop their products and businesses through a creative support programme and connect GCHQ with the vibrant Manchester tech scene.

What are people saying about the move?

The Director of GCHQ comments:

“I’m pleased to announce our new GCHQ Engineering Accelerator in the heart of Manchester. Building on the success of our Cyber Accelerator, we will help the most innovative and creative tech start-ups develop cutting-edge products and contribute to the nation’s security. It’s also an amazing opportunity for GCHQ to engage with the vibrant tech community in Manchester ahead of the formal opening of our new office in 2019.”

Director General for Technology said:

“Manchester gave me some of the best years of my life as an engineering undergraduate. Back then, I saw first-hand how brilliant the technology talent was in the North West. It still is today and I am really excited about our partnership with Wayra and our new Accelerator in Manchester. It gives us a chance to tap into that talent and use it to help us with some of our hardest problems. It puts Manchester right into the heart of our mission to keep the UK and our digital homeland safe and secure.”

The GCHQ Manchester Engineering Accelerator is an opportunity for GCHQ to engage with the vibrant tech community in Manchester ahead of the formal opening of its permanent location during 2019. This initiative is fully supported by the Greater Manchester Council who welcome the initiative.

Sir Richard Leese, Head of GMC, said:

“We look forward to GCHQ’s expansion into Manchester City Centre in Summer next year, creating hundreds of jobs and complementing our thriving innovation culture. The Manchester Engineering Accelerator is an exciting early example of how their expertise will help further stimulate that tech sector and actively help promising ideas get off the ground.”

Are you excited by what this might mean for the city? Then share this article on your social media platforms and let your network know about this wonderful opportunity.

Full details can be found here -