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Hacking, data breaches, and compromised systems and servers have necessitated that cyber security become a national (and global) priority. As cyber security becomes an increasingly discussed topic, T-REX is driving the local conversation as a cyber hub. The Downtown tech innovation center has been acting as a regional visionary, setting the table for proactive collaboration between organizations that can collectively influence cyber security’s evolution and explore what cyber innovations can look like now and in the future.
A Focus on Synergies
Currently T-REX is home to multiple cyber organizations, including the cyber security accelerator SixThirty CYBER, Midwest Cyber Center of Excellence, and the Veterans Business Resource Center. This is not happenstance. Strategically, T-REX’s President and Executive Director Patricia Hagen has been recruiting tech companies that, by working together, can make a difference.
“We are working to build strong partnerships that will leverage the incredible assets of the St. Louis region, focusing on cyber security and information technology,” says Hagen. “Universities, entrepreneurs, corporate partners, government agencies and other nonprofit organizations such as ITEN, the Midwest Cyber Center of Excellence and GlobalSTL are working together with T-REX to advance economic development opportunities for the region, which will also serve to bolster capacities for developing cyber security solutions at the regional and national level.”
The belief is that sharing knowledge, insights and ideas through proximity, accessibility and sponsored events will inherently accelerate each company’s growth, which will then spill over and positively impact the region at large through new jobs, a stimulated economy and advances in cyber security technology. As such, T-REX sponsors events that include presentations by the FBI, a Meetup Group of individuals interested in cyber security, and an evening focusing on cyber careers. T-REX also worked with partners to create “Cyber Security Awareness Day” this past May for a day of speakers and presentations meant to educate the community and kick off a larger effort.
Creating Partnerships for Maximum Impact
All of this planning is happening within a well-established network of corporations and government agencies known for being cyber security leaders. With multi-national corporations such as Boeing, MasterCard, World Wide Technology, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA), Scott Air Force Base and the FBI already present, why add startups to the mix? Startups fill a need that the established ecosystem can’t. Being nimble, able to adapt, grow and scale at different paces are essential ingredients for innovation. The startups incubating in T-REX are willing and ready to collaborate, something larger companies and government agencies quite often are unwilling or unable to do with ease.
Tony Bryan, the Executive Director of Midwest Cyber Center of Excellence, which is headquartered at Scott Air Force Base, recently took up office in T-REX. In his time there, he has seen the extent to which T-REX is orchestrating the future of cyber security in the region. He explains, “[T-REX’s leaders are] incredibly mindful of getting groups into the conversation.”
After being located at T-REX for two months, Bryan is experiencing the benefit of working out of the space first hand. Collectively, the numerous groups that use T-REX as a hub is called CyberSTL, and the group is making an impact. Speaking about CyberSTL Bryan says, “We’re all working together to make a collective impact and drive conversations for the region. The main thing is, it’s beneficial for all of us. The partnership continues to get reinforced through events T-REX promotes and is involved in. We get to network together for the region.”
This means T-REX not only attracts current early stage startups in the cyber security space, but it is also dedicated to drawing more experts into the conversation by planning events throughout the year. Events aren’t exclusive and they invite anyone interested to attend and participate. To help the region and make an impact, T-REX and its startups are inclusive of others and are sharing resources, which means change in the cyber security space is here.