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Startups in Allentown Business Incubation Program See Growth in Revenues, Salaries

By Colin McEvoy on February 22, 2018

The interior of Bridgeworks Enterprise Center, the Allentown Economic Development Corporation's business incubator.

The interior of Bridgeworks Enterprise Center, the Allentown Economic Development Corporation’s business incubator.

Startup companies in the Allentown Economic Development Corporation’s (AEDC) business incubation program earned more than $4.63 million in revenue in 2017, a 4.6 percent increase over the previous year.

The 10 client companies in the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center collectively employ 28 full-time employees and another 46 people as either part-time or contract employees, according to the AEDC, which operates Bridgeworks.

Total salaries, wages, and contractor fees paid to these employees increased by 2.6 percent from 2016 to 2017, for a total of $1.31 million.

“Although the growth we saw last year was modest, it’s encouraging to see that our Bridgeworks clients are continuing to grow their businesses year after year,” said Anthony Durante, AEDC Program Manager.

“Internally, we are seeing the client companies actively engaging in the advisory services and educational opportunities that we are providing,” Durante said. “As a result, they are implementing best practices into their businesses, which ultimately sets them up for long-term growth and resiliency in the future.”

These findings come from the aggregated results of AEDC’s annual Incubator Client Impact Survey. The data comparison between the 2012 and 2017 surveys shows how the incubator has increased its impact on the Lehigh Valley.

The Bridgeworks clients are employing nearly three times the number of people in 2017 compared to five years ago, Durante said, and paying out more than 41 times the salaries and wages.

Revenues earned by client companies is also up by 2.5 times over that span of time, according to AEDC. Today, the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center is 85 percent occupied.

“We work to create an environment that supports manufacturing, but it is entrepreneurs who take the true risk, create jobs, and grow the local economy,” said Scott Unger, AEDC Executive Director. “Our combined continued success is good for Allentown.”

The Bridgeworks client companies include Amorphic Tech Ltd., ColdEdge Technologies, The Colony Meadery, County Seat Spirits, HiJinx Brewing Company, JH Plastics, LightLab International Allentown, MTS Ventures, Polymer Contours, and Zzyzx Polymers.

Founded in 1989 in the refurbished former Mack Trucks Plant 4A, the 64,000 square-foot Bridgeworks Enterprise Center is the only business incubator in the Lehigh Valley dedicated primarily to manufacturing startups.

The goal of the Bridgeworks business incubation program is to provide the resources to help startups move from the launch process to self-sustaining profitability, then to graduate them into the City of Allentown or into a suitable site within the greater Lehigh Valley.

The annual impact survey of the Bridgeworks client companies gathers important data on job creation, company revenues, and obtained loans, grants, and equity investments. That data is aggregated into a report that demonstrates the economic impact the incubator has had on Allentown and the Lehigh Valley.

AEDC is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to identifying, encouraging, developing and managing strategic business opportunities for the benefit of Allentown and the Lehigh Valley.

AEDC’s goal is to improve vacant and underutilized properties by assisting manufacturers, business owners, and entrepreneurs in obtaining the resources and opportunities they require for success in the city of Allentown.

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