The Sun's editorial, "Maryland's stagnant economy" (June 12), noted that a better way to improve economic growth is to "foster private investment and entrepreneurship, start-ups and business incubators," in addition to action being taken by the state and federal governments. The editorial also observed that the cyber-security sector has enormous growth potential as this community looks toward the future.
This insightful prescription for Maryland's economy is currently being pursued by Maryland based American Security Challenge (ASC) in partnership with Techstars, a world-class business catalyst for young tech companies. The objective is to attract and develop promising, high growth potential cyber technology companies to the state. With plans to open a Cyber Tech Engine in 2015, the partnership anticipates bringing in 1,000 high-paying tech jobs and $120 million in investments to in-state cyber companies over the next five years.
Techstars is a powerful partner, and growth initiatives include, Boulder adding 1,000 jobs and $205 million over six years, Boston adding 600 jobs and $152 million over four years, and New York adding 400 jobs and $130 million over 3 years.
Nationwide, entrepreneurs selected in the American Security Challenge over the last six years currently employ 2,400 in national security industry jobs and have totaled over $800 million in revenue, capital raised and acquisition exits.
Techstars selects the best of the best entrepreneurs and puts them through a rigorous 90-day program that results in 10 market-ready companies. Recent, successful, powered by Techstars programs include: the Kinect Accelerator (NUI), the Disney Accelerator (entertainment), the Nike Accelerator (wearable computing), the Sprint Accelerator (mobile health), the Kaplan Accelerator (EdTech), and the Barclays Accelerator (FinTech).
These aren't your average entrepreneurial companies. Techstars alumni "diploma" means graduates have both marketable products and the know-how to drive sales, leverage capital investment, build teams and work successfully with strategic partners. A clear example is the valuation of Techstars graduate companies' jumps dramatically from $300,000 on Day 1 of the program to a $3 million average at the end of their 90-day "business boot camp, a tenfold increase.
Today, with a robust program tested globally, the Techstars Cyber program is poised to propel Maryland companies to growth and success with graduates who continue to develop the entrepreneur community both in local geographies and in the all important cyber vertical domain. Even more compellingly, given Maryland's proximity to D.C., the Techstars solution caters to the government market as well as the private cyber tech industry by focusing on the real driving force behind economic growth — innovation.
Roger London, Ellicott City
The writer is founder and CEO of American Security Challenge.
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