Ben Franklin Technology Partners Helped Create, Retain 7,300 Jobs in 2021

By Colin McEvoy on March 8, 2022

Ben Franklin Technology Partners operates the Ben Franklin TechVentures business incubator in Bethlehem. It’s a key resource for life sciences research. (photo courtesy BFTP_NEPA)

More than 7,300 jobs were created or retained in 2021 as a result of the work of the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP_NEPA), according to impact surveys completed by clients who received support.

BFTP_NEPA President & CEO Angelo Valletta

“Ben Franklin clients are an important part of the resilience northeastern Pennsylvania is exhibiting in the face of the pandemic,” said BFTP_NEPA President & CEO Angelo J. Valletta. “I commend and congratulate our clients, all of which are working to create and retain highly paid, sustainable jobs that will continue to drive economic prosperity.”

BFTP_NEPA reported the creation of 952 new jobs and the retention of 6,404 existing jobs in 2021, according to the surveys. Four new companies were started and 160 new products and processes were completed in the year within the organization.

BFTP_NEPA client companies raised an additional $1.7 billion in follow-on funding from angel investors, venture capitalists, and other investors in 2021, for a total of $59.2 billion in follow-on investment received since 2007, according to the surveys.

Additionally, BFTP_NEPA assisted 387 companies in 2021, according to the study. Since 2007, the organization has supported 4,500 client firms.

Pennsylvania’s investment in Ben Franklin statewide represents a $3.90 payback to the state treasury for every dollar invested, according to an independent study conducted by the Pennsylvania Economy League. The jobs created by Ben Franklin clients are in industries that pay 52% more than the average Pennsylvania non-farm wage.

BFTP_NEPA has generated cumulative impacts of nearly 77,000 jobs created or retained since the program’s inception in 1983. Since beginning operations, BFTP_NEPA has typically been among the top 5% of the most active investors in the nation, according to the organization.

Since 1983, BFTP_NEPA has created 20,688 new jobs, retained 56,268 existing jobs, started 535 new companies, and developed 2,456 new products and processes, according to the surveys.

BFTP_NEPA is part of a four-center, state-funded economic development initiative. In his 2022-23 General Fund budget, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf proposed at least $22 million for the statewide Ben Franklin Technology Partners network, which results in a $2 million increase for each of the four regionally based Ben Franklin centers.

“This increase is critical to getting us back to where our funding was,” Valletta said. “It enables us to make the investments needed to support growth and provide the services companies need to succeed.”

Valletta participated in an interview last year as part of an executive video interview series conducted by Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) with new business executives and leaders across the region. The interviews can be found on LVEDC’s YouTube channel.

BFTP_NEPA serves a 21-county area, which includes Lehigh and Northampton counties. Ben Franklin links clients with universities, funding, and other resources to help them prosper through innovation. 

Client companies submit statistics on created and retained jobs, new product and process developments, and follow-on funding to BFTP_NEPA each year. Ben Franklin reports its annual impacts to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, which funds the statewide Ben Franklin program.

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

Ben Franklin is headquartered in Ben Franklin TechVentures, an award-winning technology business incubator/post-incubator facility on Lehigh University’s Mountaintop Campus in Bethlehem.

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