Ben Franklin News

Ben Franklin to Invest $125,000 in Regional Economic Development

The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s (BFTP/NEP) Board of Directors has approved the investment of $125,000 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 16,600 new jobs for Pennsylvania workers and to retain 22,958 existing jobs, to start 470 new companies, and to develop 1,356 new products and processes. BFTP/NEP clients have generated $1.357 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 to clients in the form of loans.

Colymer Industries, LLC, Bethlehem, Northampton County

Ben Franklin Investment: $50,000

Continue executing a marketing and sales strategy to commercialize a new, proprietary, non-asphalt roofing and waterproofing material called Tarzanite™. An improved coal tar formulation, Tarzanite is not water-soluble and is environmentally beneficial. The material is expected to outlast traditional asphalt-based materials by at least a factor of two. This work will involve new product variations for the sealing and paving of roads and a new product for line-marking.

Ethnic Beauty Store, LLC, East Stroudsburg, Monroe County

Ben Franklin Investment: $50,000

Complete final enhancements and launch of an e-commerce platform,,  which features personal care and wellness brands targeted to multicultural consumers. Ethnic Beauty Store intends to become the central online ecosystem for ethnic personal care, a one-stop destination to purchase, learn, and share beauty ideas within the ethnic community. The company will also introduce its own new product lines for skin care.

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

East Coast Erosion Control, LLC, Bernville, Berks County

University Partner: Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center

Ben Franklin Investment: $25,000

Improve back-end processes to enhance customer delivery performance, reduce cost-of-goods sold, increase efficiency, and maximize production capacity at this manufacturer of erosion control products, turf reinforcement mats, and hydro-mulches for the construction industry. East Coast Erosion is one of the largest producers of erosion blankets and other erosion products in the U.S. This upgrade will allow the company to be the first in its industry to advance to this level, providing a competitive advantage and facilitating continued growth.

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