In the loop: closing the gender pay gap and cybersecurity support

While Twitter lightens up, businesses gear up for greater transparency when it comes to gender equality and a government-funded cybersecurity programme goes shopping for its second cohort

In the loop: closing the gender pay gap and cybersecurity support

Twitter lightens up to grow its global market share

Skype, Facebook and YouTube have all come out with lighter versions of their services to cater to people in emerging markets like India and Indonesia where internet speeds can be slower and many still use 3G phones. And now Twitter has followed suit by introducing Twitter Lite: a slimmed-down version of Twitter that could reduce data consumption on its web product by up to 70%. People can access Twitter Lite through a web browser rather than an app but they’ll enjoy a near identical experience to app users.

Commenting on the move, Keith Coleman, Twitter’s vice president of products, said: “We didn’t feel like we were reaching these other countries well enough and this will allow us to do it faster, cheaper and with a better experience than we’ve had before.” With more and more people in the world coming online for the first time, no doubt the company is hoping the might be able to snap up a few new users. The question is: will this new lighter option be enough to tempt them?

HutZero is looking for cybersecurity entrepreneurs

With businesses, cities and homes becoming ever more connected, the threat from opportunistic cybercriminals is bigger than ever. Thankfully, entrepreneurs are just as inventive as the digital bandits. And to support the cybersecurity heroes of tomorrow, the government-funded HutZero initiative is looking to fill places for its second bootcamp.

The HutZero programme is designed to help 20 early-stage cybersecurity entrepreneurs turn their bright ideas into viable businesses by providing them with skills, information on funding opportunities, mentoring and networking opportunities. It’s being run in tandem with Cyber London, the cybersecurity accelerator, and the Centre for Secure Information Technologies, a research centre based at Queen’s University Belfast.

The next programme will kick off with a week-long bootcamp in London this September that will feature a series of workshops delivered by cybersecurity and startup experts. Following that, participants will go on to receive guidance and mentoring as their business takes shape. So if you’ve got a bright idea to help make Britain’s digital frontier safer, this could be the opportunity for you.

Companies with over 250 staff must declare their gender pay gaps

According to the Office for National Statistics, there’s a 54.9% gender pay gap between the highest paid men and women in the UK. But this time next year, anyone considering working for a new firm will be able to find out the exact extent of the company’s gender pay gap, thanks to new legislation that came into force this week.

The government has introduced a legally binding requirement for companies with 250 or more staff to publish how big a disparity there is between men and women’s pay packets within the next year. The hope is that this transparency will shame companies into addressing their gender equality issues.

However, the Women’s Equality Party pointed out that publishing stats isn’t whole answer. Party leader Sophie Walker said the pay gap is “due to a combination of unequal opportunities in education, inflexible working, unaffordable childcare and a lack of shared parental leave”. So while the new rules are a welcome start, there’s clearly a lot more work ahead for businesses large and small.

Brexit has already made Britain a less attractive business hub

This week, we learned that VC firms Forward Partners and 83North have both raised healthy funds to invest in startups in the UK and Europe. Both are welcome examples of good news but a new report from KPMG, the investment company, is less encouraging. It seems that Brexit has already caused the UK to become a less appealing place to do business.

Each year, KPMG ranks countries according to their tax competitiveness and how appealing they are as a destination for foreign direct investment. Having questioned 100 of the largest UK-listed companies and foreign-owned subsidiaries, as well as 60 companies from across the other G7 nations, the report states that the UK fell from first to fifth place in the rankings.

Among the non-UK companies surveyed, concerns were raised around trade deals, the UK’s access to the single market and the mobility of skilled labour. Clearly Brexit is already starting to create an image problem for the UK. But we have no doubt that Britain’s startup community will do all it can to prove them wrong.

Maria Barr
Maria Barr

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