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Posted on: November 1, 2021

Nationally Recognized K-State-Developed Software Lays Foundation for Tech Startup in Manhattan

A Kansas State University software development team that created the nationally used PEARS software program is now launching its own company. The team has opened Canopy, a public benefit limited liability company that will serve clients with community-focused programs. 

PEARS is a web-based data management software that helps nutrition education professionals and extension administrators manage program data and demonstrate impact. Over a five-year period, the PEARS system has been adopted by SNAP-Ed programs in 37 states and eight statewide extension programs.

SNAP is the federal Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program and SNAP-Ed is an affiliated program that helps people lead healthy, active lives.

PEARS was selected as the national SNAP-Ed reporting system in 2021. As a stand-alone entity, Canopy will be able to support existing PEARS users, further grow and deploy the PEARS software in new markets and develop new innovative technologies.

The unique licensing and commercialization process carried out by K-State Innovation Partners and the PEARS team establishes a framework for future technologies coming out of K-State.

"The PEARS partnership with the colleges, and ultimately the Canopy rollout, establishes a blueprint for how Innovation Partners can coordinate and cooperate with others on campus that may have similar software and service products in development," said Ken Williams, chief commercialization and licensing officer with K-State Innovation Partners.

As Canopy continues to support PEARS and grow its business, the company will provide internship opportunities for K-State students and seek further collaboration with researchers and faculty. Canopy also plans to partner with local businesses to help address their planning, evaluation and tracking needs. 

"We are excited to see Canopy bringing high-paying technology jobs to Manhattan and retain prime talent in the region," said Jason Smith, president and CEO of the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce. "Canopy's growth also provides a great opportunity for local businesses to capitalize on the company's expertise."

Read more about the PEARS-Canopy news.

Learn more about K-State Innovation Partners opportunities for private industry.

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