• Angelo J. Valletta

Reading Eagle: State Needs to Continue Investing in Innovation

Via Reading Eagle, May 19, 2021

Editor:

As the COVID pandemic enters a new phase, Pennsylvania is in a race to economic recovery — and we’re competing with other states.

Since the early days of this pandemic, Ben Franklin Technology Partners has been working around the clock to address this public health crisis.

Our clients have designed new tests, treatments, and protections; mobilized and retooled manufacturing lines to produce critical medical supplies; and implemented other measures to keep people safe.

Innovation has been key in our response to this pandemic and it must remain central to our recovery.

Last May, the state provided $1 million to each of the four statewide Ben Franklin centers, matched by each, to invest in promising clients that were experiencing hardships due to COVID-19. Those investments helped our clients to keep their employees working, and to develop products and processes to address the pandemic.

The governor’s $14.5 million proposal for the 2021-22 fiscal year would keep Ben Franklin’s base appropriation level. We appreciate the support, but more must be done to keep pace.

Other states are all too aware that technology represents a path forward.

Ohio just created new innovation districts, with investments totaling more than $600 million to support entrepreneurs.

New Jersey has an Innovation Evergreen Fund, which is expected to grow to $500 million to support high-tech startups.

Pennsylvania must continue to invest in innovation, to fully restart and grow our economy, to help us remain competitive, and to allow us to innovate to avoid or address future challenges.

Sincerely,

Angelo J. Valletta

President and Chief Executive Officer

Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania

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