“If PASSION Drives You, Let REASON Hold The Reins.”
Ben Franklin’s quote very aptly describes this year at the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Passion is what makes our work happen. We seek passion in the management teams of prospective clients. We exhibited passion in responding to pressing regional economic development needs by finding a way to expand the Ben Franklin TechVentures business incubator despite severe cuts to our budget. But the key to harnessing the incredible power of passion is to temper it. A modicum of real-world prudence provides balance and must be integrated into planning and implementation. All of us must “let reason hold the reins.”
The Ben Franklin Technology Partners significantly increases the success rate of the highest-potential early-stage technology companies. We provide start-ups with access to seed capital, business and technical expertise, and a proven network of expert resources. We also help develop and implement productivity improvement strategies for established manufacturers through technological innovation and process improvement that allow the companies to be more globally competitive. Our job is to identify and evaluate opportunities, to select the most promising ones, and to provide client companies with crucial resources as they wage the war to prosper in today’s markets.
Recognized and modeled internationally as one of the best technology-based economic development organizations in the world, Ben Franklin Technology Partners is eminently successful by every measure. A long-range independent study by the Pennsylvania Economy League showed that Ben Franklin statewide boosted the gross state product by $9.3 billion from 2002 through 2006 and provided more than $517 million in additional tax revenues as a direct result of its work. From 1989 through 2008, Ben Franklin created or retained more than 50,000 highly paid, sustainable Pennsylvania jobs, as well as developed hundreds of new companies and new technology-based products and processes. Ben Franklin delivers $3.50 of incremental tax revenue to Pennsylvania for every dollar of state investment in our program.
Despite this stellar history of producing economic benefit for the Commonwealth, in the face of overwhelming state budget challenges, Ben Franklin’s funding was cut in excess of 50% since 2009. These devastating blows to our resources have curtailed Ben Franklin’s ability to deliver the tremendous results we have produced in the past and bode poorly for Pennsylvania’s future technology-based economic growth.
The Ben Franklin appropriation must be restored to its original level and then increased incrementally in subsequent years. This will enable an expansion of critical seed financing and business and technical support for early-stage technology-driven enterprises. It will allow Ben Franklin to help established manufacturers utilize innovation to be more competitive in the global marketplace.
Projecting historical performance, Pennsylvania’s investment in our program will provide a direct financial return of 350% in additional state tax revenue. It will allow technological innovation to be leveraged as a tool to economic prosperity. And it will help companies create the high-paying, sustainable jobs that will be the cornerstone of the economic recovery.
R. Chadwick Paul, Jr.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern PA