The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s (BFTP/NEP) Board of Directors has approved the investment of $260,000 in support of regional economic development. BFTP/NEP’s goal is to help lead northeastern Pennsylvania to a better economic future by building partnerships that develop and apply technology for competitive advantage. To achieve this goal, Ben Franklin staff concentrate their efforts on three key areas:
1. developing and growing early-stage technology-oriented companies,
2. helping established manufacturers creatively apply new technology and business practices to achieve industry leadership, and
3. promoting an innovative community-wide infrastructure that fosters a favorable business environment for high-growth companies.
Since beginning operation, BFTP/NEP has helped to create 15,479 new jobs for Pennsylvania workers and to retain 21,459 existing jobs, to start 429 new companies, and to develop 1,127 new products and processes. The Pennsylvania Ben Franklin Technology Partners network has returned $3.50 to the state treasury for every $1.00 invested in the program. Ben Franklin Technology Partners is an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and is funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority.
BFTP/NEP owns and manages Ben Franklin TechVentures®, an award-winning business incubator/post-incubator facility on Lehigh University’s campus in Bethlehem at which it is headquartered. This facility recently won the National Business Incubation Association’s prestigious Incubator of the Year Award, representing an outstanding repeat performance of its 2001 win of the same top award. BFTP/NEP also manages the Bloomsburg Regional Technology Center in Bloomsburg.
Ben Franklin announces the following early-stage company investments. Ben Franklin investments are provided to early-stage clients in the form of loans.
PROVA Systems, LLC, Carbondale, Lackawanna County
Ben Franklin Investment: $50,000
Support the launch and commercial development of Prova™ System's new Fleet Genius™ Pro SAAS application for fleet management. PROVA™ manufactures a cloud-based diagnostic device that collects, monitors, and analyzes the performance of every vehicle and every driver in a vehicle fleet. The system works for small to medium enterprise (SME), larger enterprise, and local government fleets using Prova's plug-and-play Fleet Manager-in-a-box™. This device allows proactive management of vehicles using data derived from their usage patterns and collected from on-board computers, thereby increasing efficiency. Prova's data can also be shared with third-party fleet management systems. The system can reduce fleet operations costs by more than 60% versus current technology, and in many instances pays for itself in less than a year.
SuccessTSM LLC, East Stroudsburg, Monroe County
Ben Franklin Investment: $85,000
Commercialize a proprietary new disaster recovery management software tool, called Maggie Bare Server Restore (MBSR), and establish procedures that will be used to implement a repeatable sales process. This software application supports Tivoli Storage Manager, IBM’s widely used enterprise-wide network storage management solution. The MBSR process requires only a 15-minute down time following a disaster or test, versus the current industry standard of at least four hours.
ZeroTruck Corporation, Allentown, Lehigh County
Ben Franklin Investment: $120,000
Complete development of ZeroTruck’s next-generation electric drive integration system, which will be installed in new or existing truck chassis to convert gasoline and diesel trucks to zero-emission plug-in electric vehicles. With surging fuel costs, expanding environmental protection regulation, and public demand for environmentally friendly transportation, the electric vehicle market continues to grow. ZeroTruck plans to establish its production facility in the Lehigh Valley.
Ben Franklin announces the following established manufacturer company investment. Ben Franklin provides a 1:1 matching grant for work with a college or university partner on technology-based manufacturing innovation in established manufacturers.
Electro Chemical & Manufacturing Company, Emmaus, Lehigh County
Ben Franklin Investment: $5,000
University Partner: Lehigh University
Develop an adhesive primer that will allow lined vessels used in corrosive fluid handling environments to be utilized in applications requiring a greater range of temperature and pressure conditions than the company’s current product line. Electro Chemical Engineering & Manufacturing Company produces thermoplastic and fluoropolymer lined steel vessels used to manufacture, distribute, and store corrosive chemicals. The company will work with a team from Lehigh University’s Materials Science Department to identify and evaluate primer systems with high thermal stability to perform successfully against the required criteria of the new applications. This will allow the company to broaden its product offerings and promote sales and employment growth.