Queens businesses can participate in global competition on methods to boost cybersecurity

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Queens boasts 43,000 small businesses with 20 or fewer workers, according to the Center for Urban Future, and the number of small businesses across the borough have increase more than 20 percent since 2000.

But many small businesses lack the ability to properly secure themselves from cyber attacks. With that in mind, NYC and Cyber NYC have introduced the Cybersecurity Moonshot Challenge which calls on industry experts to develop and deliver new, affordable, and scalable solutions to protect small and midsize companies from the dangers of cyber attacks.

“A coordinated cyber attack can affect anyone, from individuals at home to major corporations and even small businesses on Main Street,” City Councilman Peter Koo said. “The tech industry in NYC is focused on creating new protections for every level of society, and the moonshot challenge looks to make sure that our small business community is first in line to benefit from these new innovations.”

Koo is chairman of the Council’s Committee on Technology, and he added that cyber attacks increasingly present one of the greatest threats around the globe. The city established a consortium of international partners to launch the moonshot challenge, including a partnership between the city and Israel’s leading venture capital firm, Jerusalem Venture Partners as well as global partners from Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Berlin, Helsinki, London and Paris. These partners will work with the city to solicit and evaluate proposals from companies and startups that can secure small and midsize businesses from cyber attacks.

“I think the city really needs to be effective in reaching out to the small, often immigrant businesses with limited capital and skills and figure out a way to help them — that’s the challenge — perhaps going through neighborhood organizations and utilizing the resources of the library,” Queens Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Seth Bornstein said.

City Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Gregg Bishop said the de Blasio administration is committed to enhancing small business resiliency.

“With the Cybersecurity Moonshot Challenge, the City is taking a significant step to help local small businesses protect themselves against modern dangers so that they can continue to be dependable cornerstones of our communities,” he said.

The city’s Economic Development Corporation is the driving force behind the Cybersecurity Moonshot Challenge.

Cybersecurity is one of our world’s greatest threats, and we need to be ambitious about protecting ourselves,” NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett said. “That’s why we’re making New York City a hotbed for cyber innovation, to protect every New Yorker and every business — all while creating good-paying jobs. We are proud to help launch this important challenge, which will benefit New York City and create game-changing technology for the world to share.”