The Genius Behind Spinta

Julie Lenzer Kirk

In May 2014, Julie Lenzer Kirk was appointed to lead the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) within the U.S. Department of Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA). In her capacity as Director of the OIE, she is charged with driving programs and policies that support innovative economic development such as innovation-based entrepreneurship and regional innovation clusters. Formerly, Ms. Kirk was the Executive Director of the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship (MCE), an initiative of the Howard County Economic Development Authority focused on igniting the entrepreneurial culture and bringing together the entrepreneurial ecosystem across the state. During her short tenure, the MCE quadrupled its client base and saw the creation of new programs such as 3D Maryland, a leadership initiative connecting resources in additive manufacturing; the Conscious Venture Lab, an accelerator focused on Conscious Capitalism; and a technology transfer accelerator in partnership with Johns Hopkins Advanced Physics Lab and other leading research institutions. A serial entrepreneur, Ms. Kirk is also the co-founder and former CEO of the Path Forward Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a nonprofit that helps women expand economic opportunity by starting and building growth-oriented businesses using technology transfer. It is also the home of the award-winning ACTiVATE program.