Creates Challenges

States that harness innovation, and the

companies associated with it, are capturing a disproportionate share of economic growth, generating tax revenue and creating the highly paid, sustainable jobs that drive strong economic growth.​


In fact, research by the Kauffman Foundation shows that young firms create the vast majority of new jobs, meaning funding the entrepreneurial ecosystem is a smart investment.

That’s why so many other states have adopted technology-based economic development programs of their own in recent years, and they are investing heavily.

Smart investments in innovation, like what’s proposed in the state’s 2020-21 General Fund budget, can drive economic growth and help to ensure Pennsylvania continues to capture its share of emerging and revolutionary high-tech developments, often driven by startups, which improve the human condition and address critical challenges now and in the future.

SSTI Poll Finds PA Residents Overwhelmingly Support Investments in Innovation

A poll by the State Science & Technology Institute shows 95 percent of likely voters in Pennsylvania voters overwhelmingly support the Innovative Science & Technology for Economic Prosperity initiative (iSTEP) proposed by SSTI. Support cuts across common policy divides, as voters of different ages, races, parties, and education all approve of implementing iSTEP. The initiative described to respondents would bring the “benefits of American innovation to the American people.” Policies discussed to implement the idea include increasing investments in research, expanding start-ups’ access to capital, and converting “government-funded research into new companies and jobs.”

Report Charts Course to Advance Pa.’s Innovation Leadership

According to an independent report released last summer by the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, Pennsylvania’s leadership has gone sideways and the state could be missing out on job and economic growth as it falls behind other states in fostering investments in innovation.


Gov. Tom Wolf cited the findings of the report when he announced his plan to fuel innovation across Pennsylvania, making the commonwealth a national competitor in attracting and retaining entrepreneurs and startups through strategic funding and community support.

The report, “Ideas for Pennsylvania Innovation: Examining Efforts by Competitor States and National Leaders,” looked at spending by state and local governments, as well as businesses and universities, on research and development and other incentives.

According to the report: “Programs like the Ben Franklin Technology Partners have long been the centerpiece of technology-based economic development in Pennsylvania, and, if fully funded, could serve as a platform for both implementing new innovation programs and reviving former ones.”

The state’s proposal to invest $5 million in Ben Franklin is a good way to enhance the state’s entrepreneurial environment and innovation ecosystem.

According to polls, 89% of voters nationwide support initiatives to drive greater benefit out of science and technology innovation — exactly the kinds of programs that Ben Franklin offers today. 

*Key findings from 2015 national public opinion research by the INNOVATION ADVOCACY COUNCIL: An initiative of SSTI.

© 2021 Ben Franklin Technology Partners