“Chad was the singular driving force in creating this remarkable facility,” said Beste. “It took great foresight and courage to put up a building in this economic climate. Chad’s vision and tenacity catalyzed its development, and he motivated, inspired, and led the team that together made it a reality.”
Ben Franklin TechVentures2, which opened on October 20, 2011, is a 47,000 square-foot addition to the original Ben Franklin TechVentures business technology incubator. Located on Lehigh University’s Mountaintop campus, it includes wet labs, office/meeting space, and a new parking garage.
The new facility is projected to create as many as 200 sustainable, highly paid technology jobs and retain 100 more jobs at new start-up companies in its first three years. It will also provide job and internship opportunities for up to 20 university students each year. Twenty-nine early-stage firms, employing 158 people, are currently located in Ben Franklin TechVentures. Since 1983, the Ben Franklin Business Incubator and TechVentures have graduated 52 successful companies, grossing more than $408 million in annual revenue, and creating more than 4,700 jobs.
Ben Franklin TechVentures2 was designed for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. The facility has a photovoltaic solar array on its rooftop and the latest energy management and light-harvesting technologies manufactured by Coopersburg, PA-based Lutron Electronics integrated throughout the building.
The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, which owns and manages Ben Franklin TechVentures, received a $6 million grant in September 2009 to expand Ben Franklin TechVentures that was funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act through the US Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA). This grant, combined with other federal and state grants, Ben Franklin funding, and private contributions, allowed Ben Franklin to proceed with the necessary expansion, which cost $18 million. The expanded Ben Franklin TechVentures will improve Ben Franklin’s ability to provide resources, workspace, and hands-on support to early-stage technology companies, and generate new jobs.
TechVentures recently won first-place national honors in the US EPA 2011 ENERGY STAR Challenge with a projected reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of 51%. This August, Ben Franklin TechVentures was selected as one of “10 Startup Incubators You Need to Watch” by Inc.com, and was recognized by portfolio.com for providing comprehensive services to start-ups and creating jobs. In October, Ben Franklin TechVentures2 won the Pennsylvania Economic Development Association Project of the Year award. The Ben Franklin Business Incubator was named National Business Incubator of the Year by the National Business Incubation Association in 2001.
Ben Franklin TechVentures2 brings together entrepreneurs, Ben Franklin staff, and Lehigh faculty and students to accelerate the growth of the region’s technology economy. The Ben Franklin team will continue to support TechVentures resident companies with management guidance, business planning, strategic planning, and marketing counsel; connections to angel investors and venture capitalists;
Ben Franklin will share its new Innovation Institute meeting, learning, and conference facilities space with local corporate partners and programs. “Ben Franklin TechVentures will pay dividends to our region in the form of the creation of countless high-quality jobs in the years to come,” added Beste. “The Lehigh Valley business community is profoundly grateful for Chad’s incredible drive and persistence.”
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