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Multibillion-dollar tech giant Dimension Data is teaming up with Deakin University to launch a cyber security incubator in Geelong with the help of a $450,000 Victorian government grant.

The incubator will see students, startups and industry work together to address the rising threat of cyber crime.

Dimension Data Australia services director Duncan Brown says the centre will focus on building and leveraging local capabilities to tackle the problem, which has robbed small businesses of $1.6 million around Australia in the past six months alone.

The cyber security incubator project scored a $450,000 grant from the Victorian government has part of its $60 million startup body LaunchVic’s first round of grants.

“The grant from the Victorian Government will help us to set up the incubator,” Brown tells StartupSmart.

“We and Deakin University will now prioritise activities and identify opportunities.”

Incubator participants will be able to access Dimension Data’s network of cyber security professionals, market entry expertise and startup projects, as well as Deakin university’s facilities and research.

“Our intention is that by establishing the incubator we will be able to drive more locally-developed cyber-security tools, programs and methodologies that can be taken to market locally and globally,” Brown says.

“We also hope this focus will drive an increase in the numbers and skill levels of students studying cyber-security to help Australia ensure its safety and security in the digital arena.”

Brown says Dimension Data and Deakin University have been working closely for years before landing on the idea to set up an incubator.

“Our collective expertise led us to realise that we could enable a step-change for cyber security in Australia,” he says.

With the need for cyber security experts expected to increase by more than 20% over the next five years, Brown says Deakin University and the Victorian government want to act now.

Deakin university deputy vice-chancellor Peter Hodgson says the incubator will address this by shifting the strength of its partnership with Dimension Data from traditional teaching and work-placements to real world outcomes through collaboration and entrepreneurship.

“Our partnership with Dimension Data is really important as we can obtain direct knowledge of the needs of industry and quickly tailor our research to match these,” Hodgson says.

“To be effective and make the leap across the so-called valley of death, start-ups need strong mentoring from those who have done it.

“This partnership with Dimension Data provides this support as well as a focus for our students and staff.”

With a growing number of cyber attacks threatening Australia’s private sector, Victorian minister for small business and innovation Philip Dalidakis says he has been actively working to bolster up the state’s investment in tackling the problem.

“These projects will help young companies and ideas to create jobs and industries that will support Victoria for decades to come,” Dalidakis says.

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