A visit to LORCA

Lorca2

The London Office for Rapid Cybersecurity Advancement sounds like an exciting place and, sure enough, it is. I have been thinking about it for quite awhile now as part of our efforts to create a cyber cluster in the region. LORCA has developed an almost mythical status in my mind, a magical place which will be the realisation of all of our dreams.

OK, perhaps not but replicating something like it in the region would be a fantastic way to start and incubate cyber related businesses. This would be a key piece of our CyberNorth jigsaw.

In case you didn’t know, LORCA is a joint collaboration between Plexal (east London coworking space dedicated to the innovators of the world: the makers, creators, thinkers, coders, rule-breakers and changemakers (sic)), CSIT (The Centre for Secure Information Technologies) and Deloitte. It is funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport as part of the National Cyber Security Strategy.

Its mission is to support the most promising cybersecurity innovators in scaling and growing solutions to meet industry’s biggest challenges, while building the UK’s international cybersecurity profile. Part of its remit, allegedly, is to replicate these facilities in other parts of the country.

On the back of all this, Nicola, a colleague from CyberNorth and I made the trip to London and made our way to the former Olympic site. The whole site is enormous and LORCA is housed in what was the press centre for the Olympics. It has something like 7,000 square metres of floor area, filled with colocation workspace, bookable offices, communal space, drink stations and breakout areas. The building has been transformed into an exciting and modern post-industrial environment. The buzz was palpable as people went about their business.

Saj, from Plexal, explained how the relationship between acemedia, commerce and government comes together to help cyber security businesses scaleup. Businesses bring their problems and concerns. Academia provides research resource while contracted support helps the occupants with business advice. Government provides the money in this quadruple helix.

Nicola and I came away with high hopes. LORCA in the North East is worth aiming for. The road ahead may be long but we are now clear in which direction it lies. It was well worth the visit.

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