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Ben Franklin Technology Partners Helped Create, Retain 6,500 Jobs in 2020

By Colin McEvoy on February 22, 2021

Ben Franklin Technology Partners operates the Ben Franklin TechVentures business incubator in Bethlehem

Ben Franklin Technology Partners operates the Ben Franklin TechVentures business incubator in Bethlehem

Nearly 6,500 jobs were created or retained in northeastern Pennsylvania in 2020 as a result of the efforts of the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

BFTP/NEP’s work created or retained 6,467 jobs over the course of the year, according to client surveys conducted by the organization and reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).

“It is especially impressive that these strong northeastern Pennsylvania job impacts were generated during the pandemic,” said Angelo Valletta, President of BFTP/NEP.

“I commend and congratulate our clients, a number of which are developing products and services that directly address the challenges caused by the coronavirus,” Valletta said. “All of our clients are working to create and retain good jobs that will propel us to economic recovery.” 

BFTP/NEP helped create 483 new jobs and retain 5,984 existing jobs in 2020. It assisted 327 companies throughout the year, helped start six new companies, and helped develop 183 new products and processes.

BFTP/NEP creates and retains highly-paid, sustainable jobs by investing in and linking companies with experts, universities, follow-on funding, and other resources to help them prosper through innovation.

The organization’s strategy encompasses three key areas: developing and growing early-stage technology-oriented companies, supporting established manufacturers as they creatively apply new technology, and promoting an innovative community-wide infrastructure that supports Pennsylvania’s business technology ecosystem.

BFTP/NEP has created or retained 69,604 total jobs since the program’s inception in 1983, according to the organization.

An independent study conducted by the Pennsylvania Economy League found BFTP/NEP’s investment represents a $3.90 payback to the state treasury for every dollar invested.

The study also found that jobs created by Ben Franklin clients are in industries that pay 52% more than the average Pennsylvania non-farm wage.

In 2020, Client companies raised an additional $55.44 million in follow-on funding from angel investors, venture capitalists, and other investors in 2020, for a total of $1.7 billion in follow-on investment received since 2007.

BFTP client companies submit statistics on created and retained jobs, new product and process developments, and follow-on funding to BFTP/NEP each year. Ben Franklin reports its annual impacts to DCED, which funds the statewide Ben Franklin program.

BFTP/NEP serves a 21-county service area, which includes the counties of Northampton, Lehigh, Berks, Bradford, Carbon, Columbia, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Lycoming, Monroe, Montour, Northumberland, Pike, Schuylkill, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Wayne, and Wyoming.

BFTP/BEP is part of a four-center, state-funded economic development initiative. It is headquartered at Ben Franklin TechVentures, an award-winning technology business incubator/post-incubator facility on Lehigh University’s Mountaintop Campus in Bethlehem.

Since BFTP/NEP was established in 1983, it has helped create a total of 19,740 new jobs, retain 49,864 existing jobs, start 531 new companies, and develop 2,296 new products and processes. Since 2007, the organization has supported 4,113 client firms.    

In his 2020-21 General Fund budget, Gov. Tom Wolf proposed a $5 million increase for the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority, which funds the statewide BFTP initiative. The budget reverted to the prior year’s funding level due to the impact of the pandemic.

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