Reading, PA (August 1, 2016) — One of the largest incubator networks in the U.S. just got bigger. The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/NEP) expanded its Ben Franklin Business Incubator Network to now also include Jump Start Incubator,Reading; Allan P. Kirby Enterprise Center at Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre; The Stourbridge Incubator, Honesdale; and The TekRidge Center, Jessup.

Jump Start Incubator is a project of Berks County Community Foundation and Kutztown University Small Business Development Center. Since the program began in 2012, 34 startups have entered Jump Start Incubator. Of those 34, 28 of them, or 82 percent, are still in business today. Jump Start is located in the Community Foundation at 237 Court St., Reading, Pa.

“At Jump Start Incubator, we help small businesses thrive,” said June Clougher, Jump Start Incubator director. “Our support gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn all aspects of running a business, from bookkeeping basics and marketing to human resources and financial analysis, all while still operating their businesses.”

Business incubation provides vital support to entrepreneurs and early-stage firms at their most vulnerable times and is often pivotal to their survival and prosperity. With 33 years owning and managing its own incubator, BFTP/NEP was one of the pioneers of business incubation in the nation. Ben Franklin’s experience in business incubation has been recognized with its Ben Franklin TechVentures® winning the National Business Incubator Association Incubator of the Year Award on two occasions.

The incubator network is an important element in BFTP/NEP’s strategy for developing the technology infrastructure in its 21-county northeastern Pennsylvania region. Ben Franklin staff meet with incubator network managers annually to exchange ideas and information, work collaboratively, and provide guidelines and training that are in accordance with National Business Incubation Association standards.

The reduced operating costs of starting a company in a business incubator are typically what initially draw early-stage companies to an incubator facility. But the business development assistance and sharing of best practices among tenants are often even more important.

BFTP/NEP owns and manages both Ben Franklin TechVentures and the Bloomsburg Regional Technology Center. Members of the newly expanded Ben Franklin Business Incubator Network are:

Ben Franklin TechVentures®, Bethlehem; The Bloomsburg Regional Technology Center, Bloomsburg; Bridgeworks Enterprise Center, Allentown; Carbondale Technology Transfer Center, Carbondale; East Stroudsburg University Innovation Center, East Stroudsburg; The Enterprise Center, Sayre; The Greater Hazleton CAN BE, West Hazleton; The Innovation Center @ Wilkes-Barre, Wilkes-Barre; Jump Start Incubator, Reading; Allan P. Kirby Enterprise Center at Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre; Pottsville/Schuylkill Technology Incubator, Pottsville; The Scranton Enterprise Center, Scranton; The Stourbridge Incubator, Honesdale; and The TekRidge Center, Jessup.

About the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania

The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/NEP), an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority, creates and retains highly paid, sustainable jobs by linking companies with experts, universities, funding, and other resources to help them prosper through innovation. BFTP/NEP’s strategy encompasses three key areas:

  •     developing early-stage technology-oriented companies,
  •     helping established manufacturers creatively apply new technology and business practices to achieve industry leadership, and
  •     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 16,986 new jobs for Pennsylvania workers and to retain 23,761 existing jobs, to start 482 new companies, and to develop 1,433 new products and processes. BFTP/NEP clients have generated $1.4243 billion in follow-on funding. The Pennsylvania Ben Franklin Technology Partners network has returned $3.60 to the state treasury for every $1.00 invested in the program.

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This is work space in the Jump Start Incubator at Berks County Community Foundation, 237 Court St., Reading, Pa.