The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/NEP) has announced its action plan for investing funding approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) for its Return to Health Fund. The DCED will release a total of $4 million statewide, $1 million to each of the four Ben Franklin centers, to identify eligible projects and provide capital to existing start-up clients that are experiencing hardships due to the impact of COVID-19. The $1 million is being matched by BFTP/NEP.
“Early-stage firms are particularly vulnerable to major disruptive events like the pandemic,” said Wayne Barz, BFTP/NEP’s Chief Investment Officer. “Without support, many of our young clients will not survive.”
In order to help as many companies as possible, and to encourage innovation to fight COVID-19 and other viruses, BFTP/NEP has developed a three-pronged action plan for investing:
- Portfolio Protection Investments
These investments will protect BFTP’s recent investments in pre-COVID viable and growing early-stage firms. Funding will go to clients that were performing strongly in job and revenue growth, loan performance, and/or were developing robust product or patent portfolios. BFTP/NEP will competitively select these investees from its current client portfolio.
- Rebuilding Northeastern PA Manufacturers Investments
The purpose of these investments is to allow BFTP/NEP’s manufacturing clients with 250 or fewer employees to develop and implement plans that will apply technology to accelerate job creation and retention, and growth. The dramatic economic slowdown has brought to a standstill the innovative production and process improvements that Ben Franklin investments catalyze. Planning and implementing these productivity-enhancing projects will be crucial to accelerating the economic recovery.
- Next-Generation Pandemic Defense Investments
These investments will support new clients that are developing tools and techniques that can help us recover from COVID-19 and/or help protect us from future outbreaks. BFTP/NEP will identify start-ups that are developing diagnostics, treatments, devices, and/or vaccines for COVID-19 relief, as well as start-ups that are developing hardware and software that promise to help manage potential future pandemics. These investees will demonstrate, through BFTP/NEP’s rigorous selection process, an ability to develop and commercialize new approaches to addressing the spread of infectious diseases. BFTP/NEP invites companies that meet these criteria to apply for investments by contacting Ben Franklin Technology Partners at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BFTP/NEP’s Return to Health Fund investments will be primarily in the form of 0%-interest loans. Ben Franklin is also continuing to accept new client applications from early-stage technology firms and established manufacturers that are not in the infectious disease space for regular funding consideration.
“Our goal is to invest the Return to Health Fund to make a significant impact on as many companies as possible,” said Barz. “We and our clients are grateful to DCED for providing this crucial funding to Pennsylvania companies, which will keep promising clients viable now, and will also pave the way for a vigorous recovery in the future.”
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