UK small businesses in the cyber sector will benefit from a £4 million investment pledged by the government.

Business Secretary Vince Cable announced news of this funding, being made available by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), at the US-UK Global Cyber Security Innovation Summit in London.

In his speech, he outlined plans to launch a competition in 2015 led by the Technology Strategy Board – the government’s innovation agency.

How will the cyber security funding reach small businesses?

Funds will be awarded to a selection of SMEs with the brightest ideas for tackling the ever-increasing problem of cyber crime in the UK.

Commenting ahead of the summit, Mr Cable said: “New government funding will help small businesses in the UK cyber sector to grow, collaborate and develop new solutions to tackle cyber threats.

“Partnering with industry experts will also increase the opportunities for the UK’s small cyber companies to work together and grow their businesses.”

The British cyber security sector currently employs around 40,000 people and is estimated to be worth more than £6 billion.

It is hoped that this investment will help businesses of all sizes transform their ideas to counter cyber threats into a reality.

To help with the project, industry expert Andy Williams, from the UK’s largest technology trade association techUK, has been appointed as a cyber security small business champion. It will be his responsibility to find the best small and medium sized businesses to work with.

Mr Williams said: “Given the rapidly evolving global cyber threat landscape, the emergence of highly innovative and agile new companies with specialist cyber capability will be vital to ensuring the future safety and prosperity of the UK.

“The extra funding that BIS is providing to support cyber start-ups and small business will be key to ensuring the UK’s position as a global leader in cyber security.”