Via Centre Daily Times, May 21, 2021
As COVID-19 enters a new phase and vaccines continue to make their way into communities across the commonwealth, Pennsylvania is in a race to economic recovery.
From the very first days of this pandemic, Ben Franklin Technology Partners has been working to address this public health issue.
Our clients have designed new products, retooled manufacturing lines to produce critical medical supplies, and put in place support mechanisms to keep people safe.
Innovation has proven to be key in our response to this pandemic, and it must remain central to our recovery.
In May, the state provided $1 million to each of the four statewide Ben Franklin centers to invest in promising clients who were experiencing hardships due to the impact of COVID-19.
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. Ben Franklin needs a minimum of $5 million more to keep pace.
Other states are aware that technology represents a path forward. Ohio just created 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.
Now more than ever, Pennsylvania’s budget must continue to invest in innovation, not only to fully restart and grow our economy, but to help us remain competitive in the post-pandemic world.
Stephen Brawley, Bellefonte.
The author is the president & CEO of Ben Franklin Technology Partners/CNP.