Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

June 3, 2008

Innovation Competition Focuses on HLS Solutions

Filed under: Business of HLS,Technology for HLS — by Jonah Czerwinski on June 3, 2008

Readers may recall the Global Security Challenge as the technology and innovation competition started a couple years ago to focus on homeland security and CT capabilities. This year, co-president of the GSC, Simon Schneider, wrote me to explain that they’ve expanded the competition in two important ways. First, they are inviting early-stage innovators to compete with ideas, not necessarily prototypes or finished products. Second, they’ve created a new category for the best solution for protecting crowded places – an area that is of particular concern to the UK Government.

This year’s Best Security Idea award is aimed to support researchers, infant companies with no revenue yet, and any other inventors who just have an idea for a security solution. Judges are seeking submissions with compelling “disruptive potential,” rather than product maturity. The prize for this competition category is mentorship by Siemens Venture Capital and the opportunity to present the winning idea on stage of the GSC Grand Final in London.

Secure Futures, the GSC’s partner company and a UK-based national security “innovation firm,” will provide financial and advisory support for a new award category in the Global Security Challenge competition to reward the most innovative ideas for securing crowded areas. Winning solutions, according to GSC, may include innovative video surveillance solutions, access control technologies, or solutions for better communicating with crowds. This award is a subcategory of the Best Security Idea Award with a focus on contributing to public safety. The winner receives $10,000. Since this is held in London, I’d recommend asking for that in pounds or euros.

The big fish at the GSC is of course the $500,000 grant sponsored by the Technical Support Working Group, an interagency technology development entity led by DOD, DHS, and State. This prize is open to competition from any security technology startups with less than $5 million in revenues in 2007 and a working prototype. All finalists receive mentorship by leading VC firms.

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