Ben Franklin’s TechVentures Incubator Named One to Watch

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The Ben Franklin Technology Partners business incubator in Bethlehem was among the nation’s first when it opened in 1983. Ten years ago it was the National Business Incubation Association’s Incubator of the Year. More recognition came on Thursday, when its TechVentures program, owned and operated by Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, was selected as one of 10 Startup Incubators You Need to Watch by Inc. magazine.

Currently undergoing a $6 million, 47,000 square foot expansion — Ben Franklin Techventures2 — the incubator is poised to accomodate companies that will create an additional 200 jobs and retain 100 more in the first three years. The building will be LEED-certified, with a rooftop PV solar array and light harvesting technology courtesy of Coopersburg-based Luton Electronics.

The expansion recently earned first-place honors in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2011 Energy Star Challenge Contest. TechVentures2 is slated to open in the fall.

“Ben Franklin TechVentures provides an entrepreneurial culture that fuels innovation,” says BFTP-NEP Presdient and CEO Chad Paul. “It grows as a world model in developing early stage technology companies, creating sustainable, high-paying jobs and advancing our region’s economy.”

Through all its programs, the Ben Franklin incubator in Bethlehem has graduated 48 early stage companies that earn more than $408 million in annual revenue and created 4,500 jobs.

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