Ben Franklin TechVentures dedicates new West Wing
R. Chadwick Paul, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP-NEP), dedicated the West Wing of the Ben Franklin TechVentures® incubator-post-incubator facility at a ceremony on the afternoon of Oct. 19. Approximately 100 business and community leaders, including elected officials, attended the event on the fourth floor of the new facility.
The event included a visit by Ben Franklin, portrayed by Touchstone Theater founder Bill George. Paul was handed the keys “to new spaces for the next generation of Ben Franklin entrepreneurs.”
The 20,000-square-foot expansion provides additional office and meeting spaces. The expansion 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.
“By accommodating accelerating needs for incubator space that fuels growth and innovation, the Ben Franklin TechVentures West Wing will support the creation of new technology-based jobs,” said Paul. “The expansion will allow Ben Franklin to build on its legacy as a ‘job creation factory.’”
Ben Franklin opened its 35,000-square-foot Ben Franklin TechVentures facility 11 years go, to provide more space and resources to Ben Franklin Business Incubator resident companies. Just 18 months later, TechVentures was nearly filled because of demand for incubator and wet lab space in northeastern Pennsylvania.
Ben Franklin TechVentures2, which opened in 2011, increased the capacity to 109,000 square feet. By 2016, Ben Franklin TechVentures’ rentable space was nearly full yet again. To meet the demand, BFTP-NEP has expanded with TechVentures West Wing.
As of 2017, there are 41 firms that call Ben Franklin TechVentures home, employing approximately 170 people. Since 1983, Ben Franklin’s incubator has graduated 69 successful companies, grossing more than $1.2 billion in annual revenue and creating more than 6,900 jobs. The statewide Ben Franklin network creates new Pennsylvania tax revenues that pay back $3.60 for every dollar of government investment in the program, according to Ben Franklin officials.
Ben Franklin Technology Partners’ business incubator program is said to be among the first in the United States, according to Ben Franklin officials, and has been recognized and modeled internationally as one of the world’s best. Its business incubator has received the International Business Innovation Association Incubator of the Year Award on two occasions.