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Ben Franklin TechVentures

Bethlehem, Pa.

Wayne Barz, manager of entrepreneurial services

Year established: 1983

Incubator size: 107,000 square feet (60,000 square feet of leasable client space)

Incubator clients: 27

Incubator graduates: 55

http://nep.benfranklin.org/incubator-network/ben-franklin-techventures

Achievements: Ben Franklin TechVentures, owned and operated by Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, provides a high-energy and professional environment in which to facilitate connections between early-stage technology firms and the funding, people, technology, universities and other resources they need to prosper. And since 1983, the program has been doing just that, fueling economic growth throughout northeastern Pennsylvania and graduating 55 successful companies. Beginning with 10,000 square feet of incubator space in a former photography lab on the research campus of Bethlehem Steel, BFTP/NEP converted photo processing rooms into wet labs and offices, becoming one of only a handful of technology incubators in the U.S. at the time. The Ben Franklin Business Incubator Center, as the incubator was then known, was named NBIA’s 2001 Randall M. Whaley Incubator of the Year based on its accomplishments to date.

When the final Bethlehem Steel operation, a coatings research facility, closed in 2005 and became part of Lehigh University’s Mountaintop Campus, BFTP/NEP purchased the 45-year-old facility and converted it into Ben Franklin TechVentures, with 35,000 square feet of rentable space for incubator clients. The $8 million renovation project was completed in 2007, opening with 13 clients. Just 18 months later, the facility was nearing capacity with 29 clients (including two anchor tenants) – and the need for an expansion was clear. In October 2011, TechVentures’ 47,000-square-foot addition and parking deck were complete, giving the incubator room to house up to 40 clients. “Being able to finance and complete the $18 million expansion of our facility was a tremendous challenge,” says Wayne Barz, manager of entrepreneurial services. “The Ben Franklin legacy of innovation continues.”

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Phone: (740) 593-4331
Fax: (740) 593-1996
340 West State Street, Unit 25
Athens, OH 45701-1565
info@nbia.org