Back

Ben Franklin TechVentures Business Incubator Opens New West Wing

By Colin McEvoy on October 19, 2017

R. Chadwick Paul, Jr., President and CEO of Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, announcing the opening of the new Ben Franklin TechVentures West Wing.

R. Chadwick Paul, Jr., President and CEO of Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, announcing the opening of the new Ben Franklin TechVentures West Wing.

Eleven years ago, a group of people gathered under a tent for the grand opening of the original Ben Franklin TechVentures in Bethlehem, a 35,000 square-feet of rentable space that was expected to meet the business incubator’s requirements for five years.

Eighteen months later, the building was already full, and demand was so high than a second expansion was required in 2011.

Six years later, Ben Franklin TechVentures is continuing to grow. Today marked the official dedication of its third expansion project: the West Wing, a 20,000 square-foot new expansion that brings the incubator’s total size to 129,000 square-feet.

“By accommodating the accelerating needs for incubator space that fuels growth and innovation, the TechVentures West Wing will support the creation of new technology-based jobs,” said R. Chadwick Paul, Jr., President and CEO of Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/NEP).

“These jobs create new tax revenue that pay back $3.60 for every dollar of government investment in Ben Franklin,” Paul told a crowd of more than 100 people at the dedication ceremony. “The West Wing addition will allow Ben Franklin to build on its legacy as a job-creation factory.”

Ben Franklin (portrayed by Touchstone Theater founder Bill George) handing R. Chadwick Paul, Jr., the keys to the new Ben Franklin TechVentures West Wing addition.

Ben Franklin (portrayed by Touchstone Theater founder Bill George) handing R. Chadwick Paul, Jr., the keys to the new Ben Franklin TechVentures West Wing addition.

The new addition was celebrated in a novel way: Ben Franklin himself (portrayed by Touchstone Theater founder Bill George) appeared in the middle of the ceremony, flying a kite with keys on them as lightning effects played in the background. He presented those keys to Paul for the opening of the West Wing, calling them the “keys to new spaces for the new generation of Ben Franklin entrepreneurs.”

“With these keys, I declare the Ben Franklin TechVentures West Wing officially open for business,” Paul said.

The new West Wing provides additional office and meeting spaces for Ben Franklin TechVentures, Located on Lehigh University’s Mountaintop Campus, the incubator has housed 41 firms and employed as many as 170 people in 2017.

TechVentures is owned and managed by BFTP/NEP, which has graduated 69 successful companies through its incubation program since 1983. Those companies have grossed more than $1.2 billion in annual revenue and created more than 6,900 jobs.

Since beginning operations, BFTP/NEP has helped create 17,415 new jobs for Pennsylvania workers, and helped retain 27,384 existing jobs, to start 492 companies, Paul said. Since 2007, Ben Franklin clients have generated $1.5 billion in follow-on funding.

The business incubator program has won the International Business Innovation Association Incubator of the Year Award on two separate occasions, a first in the award’s history, Paul said.

The West Wing was funded in part by grants from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, and the BB&T Economic Growth Fund.

Lehigh Valley Meet the Buyers Expo Draws Hundreds of Small Business Representatives

More than 200 people attended the Lehigh Valley Meet the Buyers Expo today, where they had the opportunity to connect with more than 50 professionals to discuss business o[...]

Continue to Next Page

Lehigh ValleyQuick Facts

  • Industry Spotlight

    13.8% of Labor Force
    Employed in Professional & Business Services
    Q4 2016

  • By the Numbers
    $39.1 Billion

    Gross Domestic Product
    2016

  • Investor Spotlight
    City Center Lehigh Valley
  • Industry Spotlight

    9.8% of Labor Force
    Employed in Manufacturing
    Q4 2016

  • By the Numbers
    $3.44 Billion

    Exports
    2015

  • Investor Spotlight
    Air Products
  • Industry Spotlight

    1,504 Total Office Buildings
    Q2 2017

  • By the Numbers
    $57,510

    Median Household Income

  • Investor Spotlight
    PPL Electric Utilities
  • Industry Spotlight

    1,770 Total Industrial Buildings
    Q2 2017

  • By the Numbers
    24,400

    New Jobs Created Over Past 5 Years

  • Investor Spotlight
    National Penn
  • Industry Spotlight

    5.0% Industrial
    Vacancy Rate
    Q2 2017

  • By the Numbers
    658,477

    Population

  • Investor Spotlight
    Olympus
  • Industry Spotlight

    7.7% Office
    Vacancy Rate
    Q2 2017

  • By the Numbers
    342,493

    Labor Force

  • Investor Spotlight
    Lutron Electronics
  • Industry Spotlight

    17.2% of Labor Force
    Employed in Health Care & Social Assistance

  • By the Numbers
    5,073

    Technology Patents from 2000-2015

  • Investor Spotlight
    Mack Trucks
  • Industry Spotlight

    9.1% Increase in exports
    Among top 20 markets nationally in export growth

  • By the Numbers
    25.8 Million

    Total Office Inventory (Square Feet)
    Q2 2017

  • Investor Spotlight
    UGI
  • Industry Spotlight

    10.1% Industrial rent growth
    Second highest in the U.S.

  • By the Numbers
    115.5 Million

    Total Industrial Inventory (Square Feet)
    Q2 2017

  • Investor Spotlight
    NFI