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Ben Franklin Technology Partners Supported Thousands of Jobs During Pandemic

By Colin McEvoy on May 13, 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.

Ben Franklin Technology Partners (BFTP) and its network of entrepreneurial clients played a major role in lifting Pennsylvania’s economy and keeping people employed during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent report.

The statewide Ben Franklin initiative supported 1,697 companies and helped clients create 1,309 jobs while retaining 12,446 more positions, according to the 2020 Annual Statewide Impact Report released by BFTP last month.

Ben Franklin’s investments last year paid dividends for the commonwealth during a difficult economic time, with clients generating more than $1.8 billion in revenue and securing $894 million in post-BFTP financing, according to the organization.

“With the world in the grips of a global pandemic and our state and nation suffering both medically and economically, Ben Franklin Technology Partners and its clients rose to the occasion,” said Ryan E. Glenn, Ben Franklin’s Director of Statewide Initiatives.

“Innovation has proven to be key in our response to this pandemic and it will remain central to our continuing recovery,” Glenn said.

The full report is available online and can be viewed at BenFranklinImpact.com.

Ben Franklin clients continued to drive Pennsylvania’s economy with innovation and entrepreneurial efforts during the pandemic, developing 167 software copyrights and patents and launching 443 new products and processes, according to the report.

Ben Franklin contributed to efforts to address COVID-19 from almost the very first days of the pandemic, Glenn said. This was done in various ways, from treatments, to testing, to logistics, to other support mechanisms, including mobilizing or retooling manufacturing to produce the critical medical supplies and products to keep people healthy and safe.

The state had previously tagged BFTP to help launch the “Pennsylvania Manufacturing Call to Action Portal” to rapidly mobilize innovative manufacturers to produce critical medical products in response to the virus.

The state also provided $1 million to each of the four statewide Ben Franklin Technology Partners, matched by each, to invest in promising clients that were experiencing hardships due to the impact of COVID-19. Many of Ben Franklin’s clients did not otherwise qualify for traditional business support programs.

“Investing in innovation made sense in the best of times. It has been even more critical during this pandemic, and it needs to be part of our path forward in recovery,” Glenn said.

Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/NEP) serves a 21-county service area, which includes the counties of Northampton and Lehigh. BFTP/NEP is headquartered at Ben Franklin TechVentures 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, according to the organization.

Since its inception more than 35 years ago, the statewide Ben Franklin program has invested in more than 4,500 technology-based companies and boosted the state economy by more than $25 billion, helping to generate 148,000 jobs through investments in client firms and spinoff companies in Pennsylvania.

The most recent independent economic analysis shows that every dollar invested by the state into Ben Franklin generates $3.90 in additional state taxes.

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