Meet the Directors: Ben Shorrock

Ben Shorrock was interviewed on 14th June 2023

As cyber continues to grow and pop up on the radar of businesses and organisations across the nation, we spoke with Ben Shorrock, Ecosystem Development Lead and Director at UK Cyber Cluster collaboration (UKC3).

Before joining the UKC3 board, Ben, current managing director of TechSPARK, has been working for a decade to support the growth of tech and digital businesses. He currently works with 35,000 individuals each month, helping them with recruitment, networking, and increasing capital.
Furthermore, Ben serves as an assessment lead for TechNation’s exceptional talent visa program, evaluating applicants for global leadership abilities and UK residency eligibility. Apart from his role at TechSPARK, Ben co-founded the Bristol Tech Festival and serves on the boards of Tech South West, UK Tech Cluster Group, and Bristol’s One City Board.

What is your role within UKC3?

I have multiple roles in supporting UKC3! I first became involved as a lead via Bristol & Bath Cyber cluster and saw the great work UKC3 were doing to support a thriving sector. This last year I joined as a board director, where I’m supporting the team with Marketing and how we, as cluster organisations, can work together to learn and share.

Why is cyber security so important on a national and international level?
Being able to secure our data and systems is absolutely key, whether you’re a business, an individual or a government. There are a lot of bad people out there who want to take advantage of us, and at its core, cyber security is about protecting what we’ve all worked to build.

What would you say is a major issue the UK is facing in the cyber sector?
Talent and diversity remain a huge challenge for the sector (and tech as a whole). We’re growing hugely as a community, so we need to make sure we can find the right people to support that growth. It’s imperative those people are representative of society as a whole otherwise, we’ll be failing both morally and, frankly, operationally.

What benefits does UKC3 provide on a regional level to help tackle cyber security issues?
Right across the UK, businesses have formed or are springing up with new ideas, approaches and passion in our sector. All of them are more likely to achieve if they can connect and learn from each other. To do that, you really need people on the ground to join the dots, which is what UKC3 does via its cluster organisations.

How does the UKC3 community help address national cyber issues?

UKC3 is recognised as part of our National Cyber Security Strategy. To succeed, cyber security has to connect with the best minds wherever they are in the country, not just a few hotspots. UKC3’s network and coverage is a key channel to do that.

How have clusters been impacted by UKC3 services?
UKC3 does all sorts of things to support different clusters across the UK. Some of that is direct and visible to cyber companies, like showcasing them at national events or helping government understand industry concerns. Other work is less visible but equally important, like helping local cluster organisations become self-sufficient so their work can continue and grow.

What opportunities are important for clusters with UKC3?
Ultimately across the UK, our clusters are made up of businesses and people. UKC3 want to help create the right environment for them to thrive through supporting connections to learning, innovation and potential partnerships.

What would you like to see UKC3 accomplish in the future?
UKC3 is still a young organisation (a start-up, really!), but there’s huge scope for us to support the development of the sector, and I’m really excited to see the plans we have. It feels like we’re just getting started!