The Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA) held a ceremonial wall breaking to kick off construction of the new Howard County Innovation Center at 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive.

HCEDA also announced that The MITRE Corporation has signed a MOU to support an innovative big data and software lab, called “The Viking Lab”, in the center.

“The Howard County Innovation Center is here to keep Howard County on the cutting edge and enable our community to continue growing; creating successful companies and high paying jobs,” said Lawrence Twele, CEO of the HCEDA. “For 25 years, our organization has grown and evolved with the business community in Howard County, finding new and innovative ways to provide the support they need. I am excited to see the next chapter of these services begin at the Innovation Center.”

The Center, which is scheduled to open spring 2019, will be a 50,000-sq. ft. full-service resource for local businesses and the entrepreneurship community.

MITRE’s Viking Lab, managed by Howard County based company Trimia, will provide private sector companies the opportunity to solve complex governmental problems.

The MITRE Corporation, a private non-profit corporation, operates federally funded research and development centers that help government agencies address critical challenges. This is MITRE’s first Viking Lab to focus on Intelligent Cities challenges and the goal is to create solutions that are of a public value and to foster technology job creation in the local area.

“The opening of this Innovation Center is our latest commitment to attracting high-tech and innovative businesses to Howard County,” said Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman. “This facility will help growing businesses develop as well as allow us to take the next steps in developing the Gateway Innovation District, the county’s next great economic center.”

Already committed to the Center will be the incubator and entrepreneur services of the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship, the Howard Tech Council, MITRE Corporation, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), SCORE, Franunhofer, Howard Community College, Procurement Technical Assistance Program (PTAP), and the HCEDA. More resources are expected to be added leading up to the opening.

“This Center will have resources for startup companies and aspiring entrepreneurs. It will also foster innovation and business growth for the established companies in our community,” said Twele. “The assembly of these unique resources together under one roof will be an asset for the county, region and state.”

This partnership with MITRE is a unique offering for the Innovation Center. Working together with Howard County, and small and large companies alike, MITRE hopes to spur innovation and transfer some of the intellectual property done on behalf of the U.S. government to local companies to help them bring viable products to market and create jobs.

“Trimia is very excited to be an active partner with HCEDA in this historic opportunity,” said Michael Dessaso, COO of Trimia. “We see a unique opportunity to change the public/private paradigm for how partnerships are developed in creating solutions for demanding challenges while also enhancing one of the most talented work forces in the U.S.”

The Center is the next step in turning the Columbia Gateway Corporate Community into Howard County’s first Innovation District.