More and more, bwtech@UMBC has been a stop for international visitors looking to learn about cybersecurity, said executive director Ellen Hemmerly.
While paying a visit to the research park’s incubator or attending a conference offers a glimpse, there are signs of a desire to dig deeper. Earlier this year, the incubator was a “soft landing” for a group of companies from the Netherlands as part of an exchange program run by the Maryland Department of Commerce.
The companies don’t just want to see what’s happening in the U.S. They want to find potential business opportunities.
“We started recognizing that if there’s so much interest in what we’re doing —and understanding that the U.S market is a very important market for international companies growing in the cyber area — there doesn’t seem to be anyone in the state that is specifically targeting those kinds of companies, helping them understand the U.S. market more, and really delving into programming specifically geared toward helping companies be successful, bring jobs to Maryland and continue the effort the state is making to incentivize foreign direct investment in this state,” Hemmerly said.
So bwtech@UMBC is starting that program. The iCyberCenter@bwtech is set to start operating in the fall and is initially looking to work with companies from the United Kingdom.
The center, which will have dedicated space at the research park, will be directed by bwtech@UMBC Director of Venture Creation Jennifer Reynolds and Andy Williams, who was the UK’s first Cyber Trade Envoy to the U.S.
The programming will start with executive training, offering an intensive weeklong look at the Maryland and U.S. market, as well as connections to potential customers, investors and other resources. Then, the companies will enter the yearlong incubation program, which will have added resources to help overseas entrepreneurs. Hemmerly believes it will create jobs in Maryland, as companies hire to expand their presence here.
“This is really an expansion opportunity for them,” Hemmerly said. “We want to facilitate that.”
Reynolds said they are looking to hold the executive training three times a year, with 6-8 companies in each cohort. The first session will be held Sept. 11-15.
The program is a further partnership with the state Department of Commerce. Hemmerly said they would welcome partnerships with businesses, as well.
The announcement of the new program was made as Gov. Larry Hogan was on a trade mission to Europe last week. One of the stops was in London, where he visited cybersecurity leaders.
— Larry Hogan (@LarryHogan) June 21, 2017