Civic News
Cybersecurity / International / Municipal government

Howard County and German Cyber Security Council look to establish business exchange program

Plus, it's Innovation Week. Here's what orgs and startups are getting funding through the Howard County Economic Development Authority's new fund.

Inside the Maryland Innovation Center. (Photo courtesy of HCEDA)

Howard County and the Germany’s cybersecurity council plan to start a new exchange platform that’s designed to spur business access in both markets.

On March 26, the Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA) plans to sign a memorandum of understanding with Cyber-Sicherheitsrat Deutschland e.V (CSD) (which translates to German Cyber Security Council), according to HCEDA.

The Berlin-based council convenes business and government in efforts to fight cybercrime in the European nation.  Working with Howard County, the new platform will look to convene industry, academia and government in both countries and is designed to expand relations between the countries’ two markets.

“The MOU between HCEDA and CSD establishes a key relationship between the Howard County and German cybersecurity markets,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball in a statement. “This partnership is a significant step forward in connecting the Howard County business community to the world and establishing a pathway for German companies to expand into the region.”

A primary goal is to allow businesses in both countries to collaborate. This includes an exchange program, as well as support of investment and trade activities, as Germany intends to make it easier for U.S. companies exploring its market.

The idea is also to make Howard County an entry point in the U.S. market for German companies. CSD will take space at the Maryland Innovation Center on Columbia Gateway Drive to provide support. Initially known as the Howard County Innovation Center, the space opened a first phase last year and has made cybersecurity a focus.

It’s the latest example of efforts to open up international business relations we’ve seen play out in the region recently. At bwtech@UMBC, a “soft landing” program and MOU between the U.K. and Maryland recently made hard news as the British iProov opened a U.S. headquarters at the Catonsville research park. The Maryland Department of Commerce assisted in that effort, just as it did in the MOU with the German council.

Elsewhere on the homefront, Howard County is also celebrating its Innovation Week through this first week of March. The week’s activities include stops each day by Ball to award grants from the county’s new innovation fund that will total $225,000 in all.

Ball said the idea is to encourage “a culture of inventive ideas” among the business and nonprofit community. On Monday, he presented autonomy startup STEER Tech with a $30,000 grant to use self-driving vehicles for refueling of a fleet.

Here’s a look at the rest of the recipients:

  • Howard County Autism Society, for an autism hiring program
  • Community Ecology Institute which will use its farm to demonstrate techniques including agrivoltaics, biodiversity, agroforestry and no-till farming
  • Howard County Office of Sustainability, to study lawn alternative projects and develop an outreach program
  • American Diversity Group for a telemedicine program that includes a mobile app
  • Howard County Department of Community Resources, for an interpretation device to facilitate communication called the the Instant Language Assistant Professional (ILA Pro)
  • Humanim to create an alternative staffing model that is employee-owned for direct service providers
  • Respite Retreats to provide virtual reality to cancer patients for rehabilitation and recovery, pain relief, reducing anxiety and more
Companies: Howard County Economic Development Authority

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