Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania said its board of directors approved the investment of $486,250 in support of regional economic development for both established manufacturers and early-stage technology firms.
Ben Franklin is a nonprofit based at TechVentures at Lehigh University’s Mountaintop campus in Bethlehem. The organization helps startups find funding, establish incubator space, expand, and network with other companies. Ben Franklin’s funding comes from the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development.
The following early-stage companies earned loans:
• Hootboard, a Ben Franklin TechVentures client, based in Bethlehem, earned $100,000.
Hootboard will use the funds to complete efforts to support customer acquisition through inbound marketing and reseller partner development.
• Rocket Cloud Inc., another TechVentures client, earned $100,000. The company will use the funds to continue to improve its technology platform and implement a new marketing and sales strategy.
• Universal Cross-Connection Control, a TechVentures client, earned $50,000. The company will use the funds to complete software enhancements and increase sales and customer support.
The following established manufacturers earned one-to-one matching funding for work with a college or university partner on technology-based manufacturing innovation. For each of these companies, the university partner is Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center.
• B. Braun Medical Inc., of Hanover Township, Lehigh County, earned $23,000. B. Braun will use the funding to complete development of a decision-support tool that addresses and analyzes alternatives to help optimize B. Braun’s fluid products supply chain network.
• Effort Foundry Inc. of East Allen Township, earned $25,000. Effort will use the funds to implement improved production methods and product tracking capabilities. These technology upgrades would shorten lead times and reduce costs, according to Ben Franklin.
• Freshpet Inc. of Hanover Township, Northampton County, earned $25,000. Freshpet will use the funds to develop and implement a statistical process control system for controlling weight on two production lines and evaluate and recommend an improved process for preparing ingredients before cooking.
• Heyco Metals Inc. of Bern Township, Berks County, earned $18,750. Heyco will use the funds to analyze business processes and requirements and then select a new enterprise resource planning system.
• PhytogenX Inc. of Caernarvon Township, Berks County, earned $25,000. PhytogenX will use the funds to select and implement an enterprise resource planning system for the contract manufacturer.
• Rea.deeming Beauty Inc. of Hanover Township, Northampton County, earned $25,000. It will use the funds to continue to implement improved operational processes.
• SOLO Laboraties Inc. of Kutztown, Berks County, earned $19,500. The company will use the funds to increase capacity in its facility and implement process improvements and quality measures to improve and grow the manufacturer.
• Vastex International Inc. of Bethlehem, earned $25,000. It will use the funds to select a new enterprise resource planning system.
In addition to its investments in early-stage firms and established manufacturers, Ben Franklin said it also invested $50,000 in the Ben Franklin Business Incubator Network. The 13-member network brings together incubator managers to share information.
“We have always believed that investing in entrepreneurial ecosystems throughout northeastern Pennsylvania is an important way to support new business formation,” said Wayne Barz, manager of Entrepreneurial Services for the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, in a statement. “These investments in regional business incubators allow them to better support their early-stage clients.”