The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/NEP) has announced the appointment of Anthony Durante as Manager of Entrepreneurial Support. In this role, Durante will manage Ben Franklin TechVentures, Ben Franklin’s award-winning, 129,000-square-foot business technology incubator.
As Manager of Entrepreneurial Support, Durante will direct and develop new TechVentures incubator programs and policies that provide business and technical assistance, educational, networking, and other entrepreneurial support services to clients located in the incubator. He will advise and coach prospective clients on their product/service offerings, strategies, and commercialization plans, and help them generate strong proposals and investor presentations.
Durante will coordinate and communicate facility maintenance needs, manage leasing and other business arrangements with resident companies, and monitor and document key performance indicators. He will lead the 13-member Ben Franklin Business Incubator Network, applying Ben Franklin expertise garnered from more than 35 years’ experience and two International Business Innovation Awards to help develop members’ incubator programs and clients.
As a member of the Ben Franklin portfolio team, Durante will also review, advise, and critique proposals of prospective clients from throughout BFTP/NEP’s 21-county service area.
Before coming to Ben Franklin, Durante was the Program Manager for the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center, a manufacturing and technology business incubator owned and managed by the Allentown Economic Development Corporation (AEDC). While leading Bridgeworks, Durante recruited several high-impact start-ups that propelled incubator revenues upwards by 133%. He won a Small Business Administration challenge grant for Bridgeworks and assisted with a significant capital improvement effort that transformed the 100-year-old former manufacturing plant to a flexible, functional, and energy-efficient facility.
Bridgeworks’ occupancy rate increased from 35% to 99% during Durante’s tenure. The incubator earned the Economic Development Program of the Year from the PA Economic Development Association in 2015. AEDC Bridgeworks is a member of the Ben Franklin Business Incubator Network.
Prior to joining AEDC, Anthony spent more than 20 years in various technical and managerial roles in the electronics and metrology fields in support of the aerospace, defense, automotive, and medical device industries. He served as the Technology and Strategic Planning Specialist for the Small Business Development Center at Kutztown University, and before that was a Metrology Supervisor for B.Braun Medical. Durante previously served in the United States Marine Corps, supporting Marine Corps aviation and attaining the rank of Sergeant before being honorably discharged in 2003 after 12 years of service.
Durante earned an MBA in Corporate Entrepreneurship from Lehigh University and a BS in Electronics Management from Southern Illinois University. He holds a Business Incubation Management Certificate from the International Business Innovation Association. He was awarded Lehigh’s inaugural MBA Young Alumni Award.
Durante continually strives to grow the Lehigh Valley start-up community through various activities. He was one of the cofounders and is a current board member of Lehigh Valley Tech, a regional nonprofit organization that promotes technology and entrepreneurship. LVTech presents several events annually, and its membership has grown to more than 1,165 members.