John F Kennedy once said, “Change is the law of life”. At MTC we are at a time of both change and great opportunity. Our past chair, Dr. Dedric Carter, has moved on to advance innovation and entrepreneurship in North Carolina. During his tenure, MTC experienced tremendous growth and success. The Catalyzing Innovation: Strategies for Missouri to Drive Innovation and Entrepreneurship report was published last year and sets the foundation for strategies to drive innovation and entrepreneurship here in the state of Missouri.
As your new board chair, I bring a different perspective to the organization. I have been living in Missouri for more than 50 years. I have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems from Missouri State University. After graduating, I spent more than 30 years in the software industry as an entrepreneur.
I was an original employee at a healthcare startup, in 1983, at a time when startups were rare and there was no supporting infrastructure for young companies to grow. We led the way in our industry by being the first to develop software to run on networked personal computers, even though the platform was not considered viable for business at that time. We grew into a nationwide company and eventually sold to a strategic buyer.
In 1999, I co-founded another healthcare software company which was also fortunate enough to grow from scratch to a nationwide footprint. We were eventually able sell to a couple private equity firms. We were the first in our industry to develop and deploy software over the internet, during a time when internet was not considered to be suitable for patient records and enterprise systems. Again, there were scant resources to fund and support innovation and entrepreneurship at that time.
This has led me to develop a passion for aiding new companies with innovative concepts to start, expand, and succeed. Serving on the board of MTC for the past five years has been a rewarding experience and I am eager to continue to contribute to the mission.
The Catalyzing Innovation report is not a document designed to sit on a shelf. We published both FY 2023 and FY 2024 implementation plans, showing actions that we are and will take to execute the strategies from the report. Our Missouri Building Entrepreneurial Capacity (MOBEC) program will continue to provide the financial support required to expand entrepreneurial capacity in the state. and our Missouri Innovation, Development, and Entrepreneurial Investment (IDEA) co-investment program will continue to provide funding for companies at the launch, seed, and venture capital stages. In addition, we are launching new programs, as described on the MTC website.
As you can see, there is a LOT going on at MTC and we are committed to making Missouri the top state in the nation for innovation and entrepreneurship!