Australian small business technology networks AustCyber and Stone & Chalk are merging.

The merger, announced on Monday, will see AustCyber become a subsidiary of Stone & Chalk in an effort to amplify the network effects of the two organisations.

Each platform will continue with under its own branding with its existing staff.

Stone & Chalk CEO Alex Scandurra said the merger will help see Australia develop more sovereign technology capabilities.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that Australia can no longer depend so heavily on imported technology which contains critical dependencies in supply chains,” he said in a statement.

“In making our two organisations one, we are combining the greatest concentration of cyber security industry expertise in the country with the most developed technology commercialisation infrastructure that Australia has ever built.”

Stone & Chalk has locations in Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide, designed to help startups and scale-ups grow.

It joined the $35 million Sydney Start-Up Hub when it opened in early 2018.

CEO of AustCyber Michelle Price expects the cyber security companies her organisation fosters to benefit from Stone & Chalk’s set of small business expertise.

“It’s in our nation’s interests to be investing in scalable, flexible and sophisticated ways and means to nurture and propel forward emerging tech industries,” Price said.

“AustCyber has demonstrated its ability to do this for cyber security and it’s critical we apply similar approaches to other emerging technologies.

“I have long respected the capabilities of Stone & Chalk and know that joining forces will provide our existing ecosystems with the tools they need to evolve, develop and thrive.”

Funded largely through government grants, AustCyber’s stated aim since its founding in 2017 has been to help develop Australia’s cyber security industry through its network ‘nodes’ and $15 million Projects Fund which has helped fund projects like Cybermerc’s threat intelligence portal, Aushield Defend.

The likes of Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre (CSCRC) CEO Rachel Falk, former Data61 head Adrian Turner, and Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) director-general Mike Burgess have all sat on AustCyber’s board of directors.

Jacqueline Jayne, Security Awareness Advocate at security training company KnowBe4 welcomed the the AustCyber and Stone & Chalk merger.

"There is a wonderful synergy between Stone & Chalk's innovation and support of emerging technology and AustCyber's work in growing our cyber security sector,” she said.

“Australia has some of the best brains in the world and we will achieve so much more working together to build a culture of cyber security across all verticals."

Research from Harvard last year ranked Australia as a country with high aspirations to become a cyber superpower but is still lacking in sovereign capability and skills.