BLOOMINGTON – A new network for cybersecurity in southern Indiana held its first meeting on March 9. The Cybersecurity Exchange (CSX) is the brainchild of The Mill, a nonprofit center for entrepreneurship based in Bloomington.
“The Innovation Corridor that runs from Crane through Bloomington and on to Columbus and Muscatatuck is uniquely positioned to become a global leader in cybersecurity,” noted Executive Director Pat East. “Cybersecurity is a rapidly growing, multi-billion-dollar industry that has the potential to transform our regional economy. We have world-class higher ed programs, the third-largest naval installation in the world, a globally unique city for urban training, and companies who are already major players in the industry.”
The Mill formed the Cybersecurity Exchange to bring together leaders from the private sector, higher education, government and defense, and the nonprofit sector. The Exchange provides the platform for cybersecurity leaders to learn from one another, collaborate on ideas and projects, and advocate for cybersecurity to become an economic driver in the Innovation Corridor.
Half of the 22 members of the CSX advisory board represent leading businesses in the region, including MetroStar Systems, Warrant Technologies, Scientia, DAXEOS, Dioltas, Cummins, and General Dynamics Information Technology. Representatives from Crane, the National Security Innovation Network, Atterbury-Muscatatuck, Purdue@WestGate, the Indiana Innovation Institute, Regional Opportunity Initiatives, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, Indiana University, Ivy Tech College, and Monroe County Council make up the rest of the board.
The advisory board is currently laying the groundwork for the CSX’s future operations. The board is conducting a technical inventory of the region’s collective strengths and needs in cybersecurity, assessing entrepreneurial pain points in accessing the market, and defining future community engagement and public relations. The advisory board will meet quarterly, with intermittent working group meetings. Opportunities and events to engage the broader cybersecurity network of talent, startups, students, and agencies will be announced at a later date.
The Mill submitted a $500,000 federal grant in December of 2020 outlining three goals for the Cybersecurity Exchange:
- Create a regional network of cybersecurity leaders,
- Catalog resources and opportunities in a digital portal to increase entrepreneurial access and attract talent, and
- Support turning intellectual property and innovations around cybersecurity into thriving enterprises.
“We’re forging ahead with the Cybersecurity Exchange,” East said. “The time is right to seize this opportunity.” If the grant is received, dedicated staff will be able to develop the CSX faster, and if not, The Mill will use existing staff and partners to build the network.
“The breadth of experience and knowledge represented on the advisory board is outstanding,” commented Melissa Ward, Head of Partnerships and Initiatives at The Mill. “These are highly regarded companies and individuals with national and global reputations who are already shaping the economic future of our region. Their collaboration through the CSX has the potential to exponentially increase the opportunities across our ecosystem.”
The Mill’s mission is to spark Bloomington’s innovation economy by launching and accelerating startups, and its vision is to become Indiana’s center of gravity for entrepreneurship.