Howard County Executive Calvin Ball signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA), for the Gateway Innovation Center in Columbia. The center is being launched to serve as a nexus of resources for innovation and small, minority, woman, and veteran-owned business creation and support.

The 920-acre Columbia Gateway Innovation District, the center itself will occupy nearly 50,000 square feet. The industry sectors the center will focus on include: cybersecurity technologies, health care IT and medical technologies, agricultural technologies and government solutions providers.

The goal of the center will be to provide programmatic platforms to support and grow new and existing businesses and create access to capital. This programming will include the following, among other opportunities.

● Business Incubation featuring the current Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship
● Focused efforts for small, minority-, woman- and veteran-owned business
● Home of the Howard Tech Council, the largest regional tech council in Maryland
● The Catalyst Loan Program, which is specifically targeted for small, minority woman and veteran owned business funded by VLT proceeds
● Co-working, featuring collaborative work space
● Innovation labs in collaboration with national partners
● Collaboration with academia to include Technology Transfer-University System of Maryland, The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, Loyola University in Maryland and Howard Community College

“We left Silicon Valley, but this is our new Silicon Valley,” said Theresa Dessaso of the Howard County-based Trimia. “Let’s go do it, let’s solve some big problems.”