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

9.1% of Labor Force
Employed in Professional, Technical, Financial & Business Services
Q2 2017

By the Numbers
$39.1 Billion

Gross Domestic Product
2016

Investor Spotlight
City Center Lehigh Valley
Industry Spotlight

10% of Labor Force
Employed in Manufacturing
Q2 2018

By the Numbers
$3.65 Billion

Exports
2017

Investor Spotlight
Air Products
By the Numbers
$59,989

Median Household Income

Investor Spotlight
PPL Electric Utilities
By the Numbers
24,246

New Jobs Created Over Past 5 Years

Investor Spotlight
National Penn
By the Numbers
669,899

Population

Investor Spotlight
Olympus
By the Numbers
344,623

Labor Force

Investor Spotlight
Lutron Electronics
Industry Spotlight

17.4% of Labor Force
Employed in Health Care & Social Assistance
Q2 2018

Industry Spotlight

7.9% of Labor Force
Employed in Education
Q2 2018

By the Numbers
5,073

Technology Patents from 2000-2015

Investor Spotlight
Mack Trucks
Industry Spotlight

10.7% of Labor Force
Employed in Accomodation, Food Services, Arts, Entertainment & Recreation

Investor Spotlight
UGI
Investor Spotlight
NFI
Industry Spotlight

15% of the total community college degrees awarded in PA
2015-2016 academic year

By the Numbers
$6.9 Billion

Manufactuing Contribution to GDP

Investor Spotlight
BB&T
Industry Spotlight

68th largest metropolitan area in the U.S. by population

By the Numbers
$8 Billion

Finance, Insurance & Real Estate
Contribution to GDP

Investor Spotlight
Seedcopa
Industry Spotlight

9,747 degrees awarded by colleges and universities
2014-2015 academic year

By the Numbers
$5.3 Billion

Professional & Business Services
Contribution to GDP

Investor Spotlight
Fuling
Industry Spotlight

80,000 employed in "Eds & Meds" sectors

By the Numbers
21.7%

Population between ages 18 and 34

Investor Spotlight
Workforce Board