Networking & Infrastructure
Business infrastructure is the underlying framework that supports companies in an area. Elements of infrastructure include physical buildings (such as business incubators), the availability of investment funds, and access to expertise, research and laboratory facilities.
Technology-based firms have many common needs, and the success of these firms is greatly influenced by the support infrastructure in their communities. A strong infrastructure supports and accelerates the growth of sectors in an economy, while a weak infrastructure hampers growth. As part of our mission, Ben Franklin initiates, facilitates and supports targeted activities that build the regional technology infrastructure.
Examples of these activities include:
- The creation of a Ben Franklin Business Incubator Network throughout our 21-county region. Ben Franklin TechVentures®, located on Lehigh University’s Mountaintop Campus, was the 2001 and 2012 recipient of the National Business Incubation Association’s Incubator of the Year Award. Our staff has applied this expertise in leading the Ben Franklin Business Incubator Network.
- The financial support of colleges and universities for Centers of Excellence throughout our region. An example of this is the Plastics Manufacturing Center at the Pennsylvania College of Technology, Williamsport.
- The support of the Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ) program, which aims to create “knowledge neighborhoods” close to colleges and universities to focus resources for emerging technology companies, including research and peer groups, entrepreneurial support, and workforce and financial assistance.
- The support of the Pennsylvania Angel Network (PAN), which is a statewide organization designed to provide resources to more than 2,000 angels in Pennsylvania. By increasing individuals’ knowledge base through information sharing, PAN provides an opportunity to assist angels in making connections with companies and to make the most of those connections.