Pennsylvania Tech Steps Up in COVID-19 Recovery Efforts

By Dennis M. Davin, Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development

Earlier this year when the COVID-19 pandemic halted operations of Pennsylvania and the entire world, we found ourselves in the position of balancing public health and safety with economic and community recovery efforts. We know that personal protective equipment, including masks, face shields, and hand sanitizer help us prevent the spread of coronavirus, but until a vaccine is developed and widely available, this virus will continue to dictate how the businesses and communities across our state can operate during these uncertain times.

Luckily, Pennsylvania’s history of innovation positions us well to be a national player in the quest to suppress COVID-19. Our state’s tech sector has the robust infrastructure, support, and vision to set us on the path to discovery and, ultimately, recovery.

Pennsylvania is taking an all hands-on deck approach to this challenge, as individuals and companies across the state are stepping up to protect and support our communities during arguably one of the most unprecedented times our nation has ever faced.

Pennsylvanians are known for our legendary can-do spirit, and Pennsylvania is home to one of the most advanced systems of technology and innovation in the country—which means now, more than ever, we must arm our tech industry with the tools and resources it needs to help us mitigate and neutralize this new virus as quickly and as effectively as possible.

We in the commonwealth are well positioned to do just that by working in collaboration with our Ben Franklin Technology Partners (BFTP). The partnership between Pennsylvania and BFTP has been long and fruitful, and we are committed to strengthening those bonds by working with BFTP’s technology-based clientele whose innovative efforts are actively helping us respond to the pandemic. Now more than ever, this collaboration is critically important, because we know that the technology industry will serve a crucial role as we strive to contain this virus, protect Pennsylvanians, and safely rehabilitate our economy.

The reality is, from the moment when COVID-19 first made an appearance in the United States, our technology thought leaders jumped into action. From providing insight on new developments in the life sciences, to helping Americans adjust to their new reality of remote working, to helping companies transition their operations to begin producing personal protective equipment, the technology and innovation sector has filled an important role in control and mitigation. In Pennsylvania, this industry has remained steadfast in answering the call to fight COVID-19 and it truly demonstrates that investments in innovation save lives.

Pennsylvania has fostered a spirit of collaboration that will be critical moving forward. Our Business-to-Business Interchange Directory and our Pennsylvania Manufacturing Call to Action Portal are helping to mobilize manufacturers that are producing COVID-19-related products and supplies or can pivot to producing COVID-19-related supplies. Additionally, the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority (BFTDA) approved funding for BFTPs to provide capital to existing startup clients experiencing hardships due to the impact of COVID-19. These efforts, combined with the other assistance that’s been available to Pennsylvania’s businesses, will help shore up our operations and provide a supportive business climate as we work to reopen the commonwealth.

Our technology industry is supported by a thriving innovation ecosystem that fosters impactful collaborations between its institutions of higher education, exceptional regional economic development partners, and businesses of all sizes. The Wolf Administration is proud to write its own chapter in the commonwealth’s story of innovation as we invest in the opportunities that will position us as a leader in the fight against COVID-19.

We have a long and accomplished history, dating back centuries, of being witness to innovation. As we turn the page on our next chapter, the investments we make today will prove critical to safeguard public health, put people back to work, and find a treatment for COVID-19.


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