GCHQ has announced the selection of 11 Greater Manchester tech firms which will receive support and mentoring from its tech experts.

Over the next 16 weeks GCHQ Accelerator will offer the chosen North West firms advice to help them progress their ideas, including insights into connected devices and responsible use of data to improve people’s lives.

The announcement follows plans by GCHQ last year to open a Manchester city centre hub in Albert Square.

The companies selected are Shield Digital, a software designed to identify illegal online pharmacies; Dadshed, which has created property management tech, and Enee.io, which monitors and tracks assets through a platform for energy generation and storage.

Energy focussed firms include Evergreen Smart Power, which is creating a smarter energy system; Homely Energy, which is creating smarter pump systems, and Inevitable, a machine learning tool to enable data smart strategic forecasting and prediction, and Otaskies, an AI-based street light dimming energy solution.

Also announced are Howz/Intelesant, smart home monitoring system for assisted living; Sparta Digital an AR app for mental health/suicide intervention; Tended , an AI powered health and safety firm for wearable tech, and Wattl, a collaborative video discovery platform.

Gav Smith, GCHQ’s Director General for Technology said of the newly announced firms: “These businesses have real potential to improve people’s lives in an increasingly digitally connected world, from helping the elderly to reducing emissions.

“We’re excited to be supporting the thriving technology ecosystem in Greater Manchester, connecting ingenious entrepreneurs and creative technologists with the mission of GCHQ to help tackle some of our hardest challenges.”

Debbie Brown, Strategic Director for Service Reform at Salford City Council added: “GCHQ’s sponsorship of this accelerator programme for Greater Manchester is not only an indicator of the region’s growth, significance as a digital destination and a space for entrepreneurship, but also of GCHQ’s genuine ambition to engage with the innovation community at every level.

“It’s the beginning of an exciting and inclusive journey which will inspire and challenge emerging companies as well enhance the technologies and services they are developing.”