Morning Call LTE: Pa. must invest in innovation
Published in the MORNING CALL on June 4, 2021
From early in the pandemic, Ben Franklin Technology Partners' clients have been working to address the crisis with new products and retooled manufacturing lines to produce critical supplies to keep people safe.
Innovation was key in our response to this pandemic and it must remain central to our recovery. Last May, Pennsylvania provided $1 million to each of the four statewide Ben Franklin centers, matched by each, to invest in promising clients that were impacted by COVID-19. Those investments helped clients to keep employees working and to develop products to address the pandemic.
The governor's $14.5 million budget proposal for 2021-22 would keep Ben Franklin's base appropriation level. We appreciate the support, but more must be done to keep pace.
Other states are making technology investments. Ohio just created innovation districts, with investments totaling $600 million for entrepreneurs. New Jersey has an Innovation Evergreen Fund, which could grow to $500 million for technology startups.
Pennsylvania must continue to invest in innovation to fully restart our economy and remain competitive, and to allow us to innovate against future challenges.
Angelo J. Valletta
The writer is president and CEO of Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania.