Home » Nation’s high-tech entrepreneurs in Louisville for National Institutes of Health Conference

Nation’s high-tech entrepreneurs in Louisville for National Institutes of Health Conference

NIH selected Kentucky because of state’s booming high-tech sector, programs that support tech-based small businesses

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (May 30, 2012) – Hundreds of high-tech small business owners and entrepreneurs are in town today for the 2012 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) conference in Louisville.

It is the first time Kentucky has hosted the NIH’s SBIR-STTR conference, which runs through June 1 at the Louisville Marriot Downtown hotel.

“Kentucky is proud to host the annual NIH conference on SBIR and STTR,” Beshear said. “This conference provides an invaluable service to our small businesses and innovative research and development communities. Kentucky continues to support its innovators and high-tech entrepreneurs with the nation’s only comprehensive matching funds program for federal SBIR and STTR awards, and the program has already helped more than 60 firms, with over a dozen high-tech companies from across the nation moving to Kentucky to participate in the program.”

The SBIR-STTR Matching Funds program is just one of a range of initiatives designed to grow and retain high-tech small businesses across the state. These programs have helped Kentucky dramatically improve the level of entrepreneurial activity taking place statewide.

In 2011, the Kauffman Foundation ranked Kentucky eighth highest among all states for entrepreneurial activity, and the 2011 State Entrepreneurial Index ranked Kentucky 3rd among all states in growth rate of entrepreneurial activity from 2008-2010.

This fiscal year, about $2.5 billion is available through 11 federal agencies for SBIR and STTR grants. Of this amount, nearly $700 million is available through the NIH for these programs that fund high-tech small businesses.

A majority of the NIH institutes and the Food and Drug Administration will be participating in the conference, which provides a unique opportunity for one-on-one meetings with representatives of these agencies to receive the latest information on their respective SBIR and STTR programs.

The Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation (KSTC) is partnering with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, the University of Louisville, the University of Kentucky and other private and public organizations to showcase Kentucky during the conference as a great place to grow ideas and businesses.

“Hosting the annual NIH conference on the agency’s SBIR and STTR programs offers Kentucky’s high-tech community a unique opportunity to meet one-on-one with NIH representatives,” said Gene Fuqua, executive director of the Office of Commercialization and Innovation within the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. “The invitation to host the conference arose out of Kentucky’s increased visibility on the national high-tech scene due, in part, to our comprehensive SBIR-STTR Matching Funds program that has gained awareness across the country.”

“The National Institutes of Health annually fund about $700 million in SBIR and STTR awards nationwide, and approximately 60 percent of all of Kentucky’s SBIR and STTR federal awards are funded by the NIH,” said Dr. Mahendra K. Jain, executive director of the Kentucky Science and Engineering Foundation within KSTC. “Our scientists and entrepreneurs will have access to the latest information about how the NIH selects its SBIR and STTR awardees and this can enhance the funding opportunities for Kentucky’s new and existing technology companies.”

The conference will help set the stage for new collaborations across state boundaries to breed innovative ideas that will have regional, national and global impact upon technology commercialization. The NIH conference brings together small businesses, entrepreneurs and economic development organizations, along with major universities and companies to prepare for challenges in developing tech-based businesses and jobs.