LVB: Ben Franklin to target funding at startups, manufacturers needing boost
By: Stacy Wescoe April 24, 2020 3:56 pm
Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania unveiled a three-pronged plan for a $1 million allocation it received from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.
DCED yesterday approved the release of $4 million in funds, $1 million for each of the state’s Ben Franklin centers.
The money is to be used by the centers to identify eligible projects and provide capital to existing start-up clients that are experiencing hardships because of COVID-19. Most will be in the form of 0% loans.
The center, which will match the funds with an additional million dollars, will make Portfolio Protection Investments to cover recent investments it made in clients that were performing strongly before the virus hit.
“Early-stage firms are particularly vulnerable to major disruptive events like the pandemic,” said Wayne Barz, BFTP/NEP’s chief investment officer. “Without support, many of our young clients will not survive.”
The center will also make Rebuilding Northeastern PA Manufacturers Investments to allow its manufacturing clients with under 250 employees to develop and implement technology to create jobs and growth. It noted that the dramatic economic slowdown has brought many innovative production and process improvements to a standstill.
The center is also making Next-Generation Pandemic Defense Investment for clients that are developing tools or techniques that will help the nation recover from the COVID-10 pandemic, or help protect against future outbreaks.
“Our goal is to invest the Return to Health Fund to make a significant impact on as many companies as possible,” said Barz. “We and our clients are grateful to DCED for providing this crucial funding to Pennsylvania companies, which will keep promising clients viable now, and will also pave the way for a vigorous recovery in the future.”