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Ben Franklin says it helped create and retain 5,000 jobs, start 19 companies last year

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The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeast Pennsylvania in Bethlehem is reporting that it helped create or retain 5,097 jobs in 2017 by helping established companies and startups.

The technology investor and incubator said that brings the total number of jobs it helped create or retain since it was established in 1983 to 49,896.

In 2017, it also helped start 19 new companies, the most since 2008.

Laura Eppler, chief marketing officer for the partners, said it helped 10 new companies in 2016 and seven in 2015.

Ben Franklin NEP has a 21-county service area of Berks, Bradford, Carbon, Columbia, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, Monroe, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Pike, Schuylkill, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Wayne, and Wyoming.

The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania helps businesses by linking clients with universities, funding and other resources, Eppler said.

It focuses on three key areas: “developing early stage, technology-oriented companies; helping established manufacturers creatively apply new technology and business practices; and promoting an innovative communitywide infrastructure that supports a favorable business environment for high-growth companies.”

One of the major accomplishments of the year’s efforts goes beyond the work Ben Franklin does in-house, Eppler said.

Above its own investment, Eppler said, Ben Franklin client companies raised an additional $34.5 million in follow-on funding from angel investors, venture capitalists and other investors in 2017.

“Leverage is a big thing,” Eppler said. “We try to use our influence to encourage that further investment.”

In total, the organization said, it assisted 339 companies in 2017.

Eppler called it a good year.

“We continue to be pleased with the impact we achieve from the funding we receive from the Pennsylvania DCED [Department of Community & Economic Development],” she said.

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Stacy Wescoe

Stacy Wescoe

Writer and online editor Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at stacyw@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4104. Follow her on Twitter at @morestacy and on Facebook. Circle Stacy Wescoe on .

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