Posted Feb 22, 8:22 AM
By PennLive Letters to the Editor
Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposal to invest $12.35 million in innovation, including a $5 million increase in the line item that funds Ben Franklin Technology Partners, comes at a critical time. In the nation’s highly competitive high-tech economy, every dollar matters.Building an ecosystem that fosters innovation and drives entrepreneurial success isn’t easy, or cheap. But smart investments like this can drive economic growth and ensure Pennsylvania continues to capture its share of emerging high-tech developments.
Ben Franklin Technology Partners serves all 67 counties through four regionally based centers in Pittsburgh, State College, Bethlehem and Philadelphia, with several satellite offices spread across the state, including one here in Harrisburg.
The initiative supports fledgling enterprises at their most vulnerable point --- the early stages of commercialization and market development --- and provides vital support services that clients cite as being key factors in their eventual success.
Working directly with Pennsylvania’s colleges and universities to build and accelerate the development of technology-based industries has made us one of the most widely known and emulated state technology-based economic development programs in the nation. Our competitive investment structure attracts and supports high-growth, innovation-led entrepreneurs and startups.
According to independent analyses, every dollar invested by the state into Ben Franklin generates $3.90 in additional state taxes.
The challenge now is making sure Pennsylvania remains at the forefront, considering how fierce the competition is. Gov. Wolf’s $5 million investment is a good first step in getting us to where we need to be --- at the leading edge of innovation and high-tech development.
Ryan E. Glenn is director of Statewide Initiatives, Ben Franklin Technology Partners.