The bwtech@UMBC research and technology park has officially launched the iCyberCenter@bwtech to support companies from the United Kingdom and other nations as they establish themselves in Maryland. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan initially announced plans for the iCyberCenter@bwtech, as a collaboration of UMBC and the Maryland Department of Commerce, during a trade mission to the United Kingdom in mid-June, prior to the formal U.S. launch event on July 6, 2017, at bwtech@UMBC.
The iCyberCenter@bwtech will offer an intensive training program for the executives of select international companies seeking to connect with the U.S. market. The first executive training session will be held September 11 – 15, 2017, and organizers anticipate running three such sessions annually, with each including 6-8 entrepreneurs. Through the program, participants will increase their understanding of the U.S. cyber market and develop custom market entry plans for their businesses.
Companies accepted into the program will also benefit from the 12-month U.S. Market Entry Incubator Program, which will offer support while they launch their U.S. operations. Participants in the year-long support program will have access to mentorship from industry experts, and will engage in trainings, events, and networking opportunities.
Jennifer Reynolds, bwtech’s director of venture creation, and Andy Williams, most recently the United Kingdom’s first cyber trade envoy to the U.S., will lead the iCyberCenter, with Williams serving as CEO. Reynolds is focused on developing the right supports to meet the needs of incoming companies, noting, “There is not a one-size-fits-all for getting into the U.S. market in cybersecurity.” Williams sees his role as educating people about why “there is no better place for an overseas company to develop a U.S. presence than Maryland.”
Ellen Hemmerly, executive director of bwtech@UMBC, sees the iCyberCenter as an economic development engine. She notes that, in addition to helping to create at least 100 permanent jobs over the next several years, it “will support Maryland’s desire to increase foreign direct investment in the state” by boosting the state’s international visibility as a home for cybersecurity leaders. “We believe the economic impact of the iCyberCenter will be significant…and secure Maryland’s place in cybersecurity innovation in the world,” she explained at the launch event.
“The creation of the iCyberCenter@bwtech will further develop UMBC’s cybersecurity ecosystem, and will continue to build Maryland’s reputation as a leader in the cyber industry,” said UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski in an early announcement about the iCyberCenter@bwtech. At the launch, he further emphasized the tremendous potential he sees in the new center, noting, “The opportunities for business development are limitless when thinking about this industry and international partnerships.”
Quite simply, Maryland Secretary of Commerce Mike Gill told the crowd, “this is a big deal” as an economic development opportunity, and as a chance to show the international business and tech communities that UMBC “stands for excellence, innovation, and grit.”
When it comes down to it, said Williams, “We have a hunger here to get things done, but we also have a community.” He sees UMBC’s combination of support, talent, knowledge, and drive as essential to the success of the iCyberCenter@bwtech itself.
Read more coverage of the iCyberCenter@bwtech in The Baltimore Sun, the Baltimore Business Journal, Technical.ly Baltimore, and Southern Maryland Online. Another article appeared in The Baltimore Sun in October 2017.
Header image features Andy Williams speaking at the iCyberCenter launch. All photos by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.