The Maryland Department of Commerce signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) this week with two economic development agencies in The Netherlands to launch the Maryland-Netherlands Cyber and Security Technologies Soft Landing Platform.
The agreement, which was signed with The Hague Security Delta (HSD) and InnovationQuarter, the regional economic development agency for the Dutch province of Zuid-Holland, establishes a 'soft landing' program where Maryland cybersecurity companies can explore the Dutch market, and Dutch cybersecurity companies can set up operations in Maryland on a trial basis.
Maryland's Deputy Secretary of Commerce Ben Wu joined HSD Executive Director Richard B. Franken and InnovationQuarter Director of Foreign Investments Chris van Voorden at the Dutch ambassador's residence in Washington, D.C. Thursday to sign the three-year agreement.
"Maryland is the ideal place for foreign cybersecurity companies to establish operations as they explore the U.S market," said Maryland Commerce Secretary Mike Gill. "We are home to many key federal agencies, including the National Security Agency and the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence, as well as a critical mass of successful information technology and cybersecurity companies, and a highly-skilled and talented workforce."
"The Hague Security Delta is the largest security cluster of Europe and a perfect place for companies to soft land," said Franken. "The cluster comprises many companies, knowledge institutes, and government organizations and provides access to market, talent, innovation, knowledge, capital, events and education."
"We welcome security tech companies to make use of this wonderful program. They can come for a week or even stay for three consecutive months in bwtech or HSD," van Voorden said. "We will make sure every company receives a tailor-made program in which they will meet our partners and get connected to the right business environment."
The first of its kind in Maryland, the program will provide participants with up to three months of incubation and mentorship services and help connect them with additional resources and partners. Participating Dutch companies will spend time incubating at facilities such as bwtech@UMBC. After the initial trial period, lasting from January to March 2017, participants may choose to establish a permanent presence in either Maryland or The Netherlands.