TIME is running out for cyber security companies to apply for the Midlands Engine mission to Baltimore, America in October.

The opportunity is available to all cyber security businesses in Worcestershire and interested parties should submit their full applications by Monday, August 22. The mission, which takes place from October 18-22 is designed to help companies make contacts within American organisations and create long-term partnerships.

The programme includes the prestigious CyberMaryland Conference 2016, which has a range of networking and business development opportunities, and Maryland itself, which is recognised as a cyber-security leader both nationally and internationally with the world’s largest concentrations of cyber security companies. The headquarters of the US National Security Agency is at Fort Meade and some of the world’s largest IT and cyber security firms are located there as well as many of the most successful modern cyber innovation companies, five universities which are designated centres of excellence in cyber education, research by NSA and DHS and several leading hi-tech and cyber security incubators and accelerators.

Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and the Marches LEP, in partnership with the Department for International Trade and Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, are developing a programme over the next three years with a return visit from Maryland to the Midlands being planned for Spring 2017.

Linda Smith, director of international trade at Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, said: “This really is a fantastic opportunity for businesses across the Midlands to build strong relations with a thriving international market. With the opportunity to participate in networking and business development opportunities at the CyberMaryland Conference 2016, companies will be able to grow their presence in an internationally-renowned cyber area. I would urge any interested businesses to register their interest at the earliest opportunity.”

In addition, in recognition of the importance of cyber, defence and IT to the County’s economy, Worcestershire LEP is providing grant support of £2,000 for the first 10 eligible Worcestershire cyber security companies to submit full applications. These funds will contribute to the exhibition package to facilitate local companies’ participation in the mission. The grant is available to eligible companies on a first come, first served basis and full terms and conditions are available following an Expression of Interest.

Those interested in participating in the mission should email enquiries@wlep.co.uk to express an interest and to receive the full application for completion and to check eligibility. Full applications must be returned by close of business on Monday, August 22 with places allocated to eligible companies on a first come, first services basis. Any questions can be directed to the email address or by calling 01905 672700. Only when receiving full confirmation from the Department for International Trade then a place on the mission is guaranteed. Full details, including the brochure, can be viewed at wlep.co.uk/cybermaryland