KSTC expands its offerings to serve Kentucky's growing tech economy – Louisville Business First

While not everyone has heard of the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation (KSTC), thousands of Kentuckians have benefitted from its innovative programs for over 30 years. Terry Samuel, KSTC’s president, is leading an expansion of the organization’s outreach that brings its impact into the limelight — and Kentucky’s booming tech industry along with it.
“KSTC is the nonprofit organization that many have never heard of yet delivers the programs that everyone loves,” Samuel said. “We are implementing a new engagement strategy to deepen our partnership with KY Innovation, boost our programs’ reach, expand them across the commonwealth in collaboration with Kentucky’s six Innovation Hubs, and attract new resources into the commonwealth.”
KSTC is headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky, and opened an updated, open-concept office space at the historic Dudley Square building in December 2020. Less than a year later, KSTC opened its first satellite office in Louisville.
Programmatically, KSTC serves a broad spectrum of Kentucky’s innovation economy, and its programs are growing across the state.
One program, the Kentucky Procurement Technical Assistance Center (KYPTAC), is a free service to Kentucky businesses that assists them in pursuing government and prime contractor business. KYPTAC recently opened new support offices in Paducah, Covington and Louisville, adding to existing offices in Lexington, Eastern Kentucky, and Bowling Green — each with a dedicated KYPTAC procurement consultant. In September, KYPTAC and the University of Kentucky announced a series of webinars to educate small businesses and the public about how to conduct business with the university.
In addition, KSTC launched Kentucky Commercialization Ventures in July 2020. This initiative expands access to technology commercialization, intellectual property and new ventures services to all of Kentucky’s public postsecondary institutions — specifically, the regional universities and community and technical colleges. KSTC partners with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, the University of Kentucky, the University of Louisville and the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education to administer the program.
Within 15 months of launch, Kentucky Commercialization Ventures received two national awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration for its promotion of inclusive innovation and access via the partnership.
“The organization [KSTC] has been intentional to grow its program offerings so that every Kentuckian can learn, build a career or start a business in technology no matter what town or region they are in,” said Monique Kuykendoll Quarterman, Kentucky Commercialization Ventures’ executive director and KSTC senior leadership team member. “We empower Kentuckians to innovate right where they are.”
KSTC’s programming also reaches Kentucky’s future science and tech workforce through multiple programs under the AdvanceKentucky initiative:. AdvanceKentucky works with school districts across the state to provide STEM-related professional development, mentoring and student recruitment to increase enrollment and success in advanced math, science, English and computer science curricula. A multidisciplinary collaboration, AdvanceKentucky partners with the Kentucky Department of Education, the National Math and Science Initiative, Code.org and other state and national organizations to give Kentucky’s youth a competitive edge in STEM, preparing them for success as they navigate their academic and professional careers.
Several new projects are coming to the community from KSTC’s Kentucky Science and Engineering Foundation (KSEF) and KSTC’s venture finance programs. KSEF has expanded its SBIR/STTR support team, offering accelerator programs focused on Department of Defense and NASA awards, and was recently awarded the U.S. Small Business Administration FAST Award to target and assist new applicants seeking the competitive federal innovation grants. Further, a statewide microgrants program targeting small businesses with leading-edge technology is expected to launch via KSEF before the end of the year.
KSTC’s investment arm provides venture finance and venture development for the state of Kentucky. As a founder-oriented initiative anchored by the Kentucky Enterprise Fund, the program invests pre-seed and seed-stage venture capital into high-growth startups and entrepreneurs based in or interested in relocating to Kentucky.
“We are using all the tools, expertise, and resources we have to reach more communities and spark collaboration,” added Samuel. “For example, KY Inno covered our recent launch of the Kentucky Intellectual Property Alliance in October. That is a great example of how we are bringing community organizations, universities, government, startups and industry together with the common goal to grow Kentucky’s tech economy and the homegrown opportunities that come with it.”
Visit KSTC to learn more about the organization, its programs and its impact on the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
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