It may not be Amazon, but they add up.
Written by Evan Jones, originally published on ReadingEagle.com.
These days, good economic news, at least for this region, tends to come in small doses.
When a major project is announced, it seems like it always misses Berks and beyond. But did this area really have a shot of getting something like Amazon's HQ2, which will be split between New York and the Washington, D.C. area?
No, nothing too grandiose for here. But stuff is getting done.
One organization we consistently hear from is the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, a seed stage capital provider for the region's technology sectors since 1983.
A recent press release from Ben Franklin said a recent study from the Pennsylvania Economy League and KLIOS Consulting found the partnership boosted the state's economy by $4.1 billion between 2012 and 2016, creating 11,407 high-paying jobs and generating $386 million in tax receipts.
“Ben Franklin is a driving force in our region that actively supports the crucial role that technology-based start-ups and innovation-led manufacturers play in the Pennsylvania economy,” said R. Chadwick Paul Jr., Ben Franklin president and CEO, in a statement. “In order to keep our communities competitive in today's global marketplace, we must continue to invest in and grow innovative ecosystems. In so doing, we will create and retain the well-paid, technology-based jobs sought by Pennsylvanians of all ages.”
The study also found in that period:
Ben Franklin invested in 560 companies across the commonwealth.
Among the reasons for the large impact on the gross state product is that these jobs are in industries that pay annual salaries of $79,364 per year, or 52 percent higher than the average private nonfarm salary in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania received $350 million in additional state tax receipts as a direct result of Ben Franklin investments in client firms. Another $36 million in state tax receipts flowed from related BFTP client services, for a total of $386 million in state revenue due to Ben Franklin.
Despite having its state funding cut by more than half in the past 10 years, the partnership said, it has continued to bankroll entrepreneurs in Berks County and the surrounding region.
Every one of those is a small victory, and while it may not close to matching an Amazon HQ2, they do add up.