Ben Franklin Tech to invest $354,876 in area development
The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania BFTP-NEP) Board of Directors has approved the investment of $354,876 in support of regional economic development.
Ben Franklin announces the following early-stage company investments from its Pennsylvania Challenge Grant funding. Ben Franklin investments are provided to early-stage clients in the form of loans.
HB Custom Media, Inc., Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem. Ben Franklin Investment: $75,000. Goal: Establish HB Custom Media's production facility and begin commercializing custom tissue culture media, reagents, cell culture supplements, and mouse embryo culture media to the Research-Use-Only market. These products are essential for life sciences companies in various applications, including drug development, cancer research, nerve cell regeneration investigation, and treatments for heart attacks.
Virtual Celebration, Bethlehem. Ben Franklin Investment: $65,000. Goal: Support the development of a "back-end" transaction automation system and analytics for growing a network of Virtual Event Planners. Virtual Celebrations, LLC is a proprietary virtual platform in which hosts and guests privately gather to connect, play, share, give, and gift with provided celebration tools and content. With the Ben Franklin investment, Virtual Celebration will be able to utilize online tools to recruit and train 1,000 event planners.
Ben Franklin announces the following established manufacturer company investments from its Pennsylvania Challenge Grant funding. Ben Franklin provides a 1:1 matching grant for work with a college or university partner on technology-based manufacturing innovation in established manufacturers.
Bosch Rexroth Corp., Bethlehem. University Partner: Lehigh University. Ben Franklin Investment: $25,000. Goal: Complete manufacturing process analysis in order to increase the capacity of the hydraulic cylinder manufacturing system. The Enterprise Systems Center team will analyze and evaluate work processes, then utilize simulations to test alternative system configurations and scheduling methods. Bosch Rexroth manufactures motion control equipment, including hydraulic and pneumatic components.
Demco Automation, Quakertown. University Partner: Lehigh University. Ben Franklin Investment: $19,876. Goal: Implement a new Enterprise Resource Planning System for this developer and manufacturer of custom automation equipment and controls.
Ben Franklin will invest in the following early-stage companies through its five-year grant from the Alternative Energy Development Program (AEDP). Pennsylvania's AEDP was created in 2008 to incent collaboration to save energy costs, reduce dependence on foreign fuels, expand clean energy production, and create energy-related jobs in the state.
Bio-Energy Holdings, Inc., Center Valley, Upper Saucon Township. Ben Franklin Investment: $50,000. Goal: Continue commercializing the patented A-Ceptor, a unit that separates oils and grease from "gray" restaurant sink effluent before it goes into underground traps or wastewater treatment systems. Trap buildup can cause odor, bacteria, and drain back-ups inside the restaurant, and sewer blockages and discharge issues outside. The end-product from the A-Ceptor is recycled for bio-diesel energy production.
Vitrius Technologies, LLC, Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County. Ben Franklin Investment: $120,000. Goal: Develop and commercialize new window products that combine three proprietary new innovations specific to materials and glazing. The metal-clad composite windows produce heat and power as well as greatly increase energy efficiency.
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 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. The facility won the State Science and Technology Institute Building Entrepreneurial Capacity award at SSTI's National Conference in Atlanta, complementing its second National Business Incubator of the Year Award.
BFTP-NEP also manages the Bloomsburg Regional Technology Center in Bloomsburg.