Ben Franklin News

Ben Franklin to Invest $397,543 in Regional Companies

The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s (BFTP/NEP) Board of Directors has approved the investment of $397,543 in support of regional economic development. BFTP/NEP’s goal is to help lead northeastern Pennsylvania to a better economic future by building partnerships that develop and apply technology for competitive advantage. To achieve this goal, Ben Franklin staff concentrate their efforts on three key areas:

  1. developing and growing early-stage technology-oriented companies,
  2. helping established manufacturers creatively apply new technology and business practices to achieve industry leadership, and
  3. promoting an innovative community-wide infrastructure that fosters a favorable business environment for high-growth companies.

Since beginning operation, BFTP/NEP has helped to create 17,415 new jobs for Pennsylvania workers and to retain 27,384 existing jobs, to start 492 new companies, and to develop 1,591 new products and processes. Since 2007, BFTP/NEP clients have generated $1.4623 billion in follow-on funding. The Pennsylvania Ben Franklin Technology Partners network has returned $3.60 to the state treasury for every $1.00 invested in the program. Ben Franklin Technology Partners is an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and is funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority.

BFTP/NEP owns, manages, and is headquartered in Ben Franklin TechVentures®, an award-winning business incubator/post-incubator facility on Lehigh University’s campus in Bethlehem, PA. BFTP/NEP also manages the Bloomsburg Regional Technology Center in Bloomsburg.

Ben Franklin announces the following early-stage company investments that are provided in the form of loans with warrants.

Dellicker Strategies, LLC,, Germansville, Lehigh County
Ben Franklin Investment: $100,000
Provide support for sales and marketing efforts, and ongoing software enhancements at this producer of a software platform that facilitates personalized learning strategies for K-12 classrooms. The technology, DSdirect, helps educators deliver student-centric instruction through effective professional development and integrated program management, thereby improving learning in K-12 schools while saving costs.

OrthoForge,, Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem, Northampton County
Ben Franklin Investment: $100,000
Finalize engineering to lead to the initial unit build of a medical device that provides clinicians real-time data regarding fracture healing as well as stimulating bone growth at the targeted area. This allows orthopedists to streamline their fracture healing treatment algorithm in a more cost-effective manner and potentially improve outcomes.

Sustainable Energy Management Systems,, Scranton, Lackawanna County
Ben Franklin Investment: $16,000
Complete a new strategic plan to expand market focus for this manufacturer of a proprietary solar tracking device. Its patented Reflective Solar Tracker enhances the performance of solar panels by tracking the sun’s position and utilizing reflectors to capture more sunlight, increasing solar energy production by 40-50%.

Zukay Live Foods, LLC,, Hereford Township, Berks County
Ben Franklin Investment: $100,000
Provide marketing and distribution support for a new product line and support sales expansion for the Jacob’s Raw product line into additional retailers at this manufacturer of raw, probiotic, and vegan condiments and beverages. Natural and raw, fermented foods are increasingly becoming mainstream in conventional shopping channels.

Ben Franklin announces the following established manufacturer company investments. Ben Franklin provides 1:1 matching funding for work with a college or university partner on technology-based manufacturing innovation in established manufacturers.

CornellCookson,, Mountain Top, Luzerne County
University Partner: Wilkes University
Ben Franklin Investment: $24,943
Develop a new overhead door device that will be utilized primarily in high-traffic areas such as parking garages and high-capacity warehouses. The overhead door will incorporate a novel design that will reduce hazards and common failure points in competing products while adding functionality around electronics, high performance, energy efficiency, and aesthetics.

Freshpet, Inc.,, Bethlehem, Northampton County
University Partner: Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center
Ben Franklin Investment: $12,500
Complete the analysis of process, product, and environmental data in order to determine key yield influencers in Freshpet’s proprietary process for manufacturing food for dogs and cats. Freshpet’s products are all-natural and refrigerated.

PDQ Printing,, Taylor, Lackawanna County
University Partner: Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center
Ben Franklin Investment: $25,000
Analyze and improve estimating and operational overhead, tracking of project costs, facility layout, scrap reduction, and cost structures at this custom offset and digital printer, bindery, and direct mail house. Among the largest printers in northeastern PA, streamlined manufacturing processes will continue to position PDQ strongly in this highly competitive sector.

Prizer-Painter Stove Works, Inc.,, Blandon, Berks County
University Partner: Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center
Ben Franklin Investment: $19,100
Improve factory flow and efficiencies at a new building purchased by Prizer-Painter Stove Works to accommodate rapid increases in demand. Prizer-Painter Stove Works manufactures high-end cooking and ventilation equipment under brands like BlueStar, Prizer Hoods, and Big Chill as well as a new premium refrigeration line.

Coverage via Lehigh Valley Business, Morning Call, Standard Speaker