Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern PA (BFTP/NEP) recently held a groundbreaking ceremony for its newest building, TechVentures2, with Joe Biden as a speaker and special guest.
TechVentures2 is an expansion of the Ben Franklin TechVentures incubator/post-incubator facility, created because the original facility had filled to near capacity. Vice President Joe Biden spoke on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and how the $6 million U.S. Economic Development Administration grant toward the expansion of Ben Franklin TechVentures was an ideal example of the kind of economic development the Act was meant to accelerate.
Ben Franklin TechVentures2 will be a 47,000 square-foot expansion to the original TechVentures. Located on Lehigh University’s Mountaintop campus, it will include wet labs, office and meeting space and parking to accommodate 260. The addition will be a certified Leadership Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building and will have a photovoltaic solar array on its rooftop and the latest energy management and light-harvesting technologies.
Investing in the Entrepreneurial Spirit
This new facility will create as many as 200 sustainable, highly paid technology jobs and retain 100 more jobs at new start-up companies in its first three years. Twenty-three early-stage firms, employing 118 people, are currently located in Ben Franklin TechVentures2. Since 1983, the Ben Franklin Business Incubator has graduated 44 successful companies, grossing more than $675 million in annual revenue, and creating more than 4,000 jobs. The Ben Franklin Business Incubator was named National Business Incubator of the Year by the National Business Incubation Association in 2001.
A “Job Creation Factory”
Ben Franklin TechVentures2 will bring together entrepreneurs, BFTP staff and Lehigh faculty and students to accelerate the growth of the region’s technology economy. The facility provides an entrepreneurial culture that fuels innovation; shared basic office services and access to equipment, conference and meeting rooms; high-speed Internet; and other amenities.
“A cornerstone of the American economic recovery will be the creation and retention of high-value, sustainable jobs in technology sectors,” says R. Chadwick Paul, president and CEO of BFTP/NEP. “Like its predecessors, Ben Franklin TechVentures2 will be a job creation factory that will accelerate our region’s economic growth.”