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Ben Franklin to invest $250,000 in regional economy
  • Updated

The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s Board of Directors has approved the investment of $250,000 in support of regional economic development. Four companies in the 21-county service area received funding.

The group announced the following early-stage company investments, which are provided in the form of loans with warrants:

• mXtr Automation, https://www.mxtrautomation.com/, Williamsport, Lycoming County

Ben Franklin Investment: $100,000

Enhance software, scale, and increase sales for this producer of marketing automation software tools. These tools allow marketing departments to automate emails, social media/website postings, and other functions to increase sales leads, conversions, and retentions. MXtr’s platform lets clients expand marketing automation across locations with an aligned message, allowing them to syndicate lead nurturing and customer engagement throughout their dealer or franchise network.

• Sivana Converting, LLC, Mountain Top, Luzerne County

Ben Franklin Investment: $100,000

Support efforts to prepare a manufacturing facility to produce hemp-based biodegradable plates, cups, to-go food containers, cutlery, and straws. The company plans to later expand its product offerings to supply proprietary hemp-based pulp and fibers as raw materials to other manufacturers. Because hemp-based products are made from renewable biomass sources and are non-toxic, pesticide-free, recyclable, decomposable within six months, and 3.5x stronger than common polypropylene, they are far more environmentally friendly than plastics.

Ben Franklin provides 1:1 matching funding for work with a college or university partner on technology-based innovation in established manufacturers.

• Structural Services, Inc., http://structuralservices.com/, Bethlehem, Northampton County

Ben Franklin Investment: $25,000

University Partner: Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center

Document and analyze the existing cost/data collection process, identify and develop more efficient options, and conduct data and financial impact analyses on new processes. Structural Services is a highway construction subcontractor that supplies value-added services for bridge construction and rehabilitation, specializing in jobs that require curved girders, innovative rigging, and heavy jacking.

• Joe Jurgielewicz & Son, LTD, https://www.tastyduck.com/, Hamburg, Berks County

Ben Franklin Investment: $25,000

University Partner: Lehigh University’s Center for Supply Chain Research

Support continuous process improvement, increase processing capacity, and enhance efficiency to support the growth of this duck production operation that supplies restaurants, food services, and institutions in the US. The firm is vertically integrated from breeding to delivery and employs environmentally friendly, sustainable farming practices.

The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/NEP) creates and retains highly paid, sustainable jobs by investing in and linking companies with experts, universities, follow-on funding, and other resources to help them prosper through innovation. It is part of a four-center economic development initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and is funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority.


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