Continuing its mission of supporting entrepreneurs and growing companies, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania has awarded funding to two West Hazleton companies located in CAN DO’s Valmont Industrial Park, IntelliGreen and Summit Utility Structures, LLC. Ben Franklin Technology Partners is an organization supported by the Pennsylvania’s Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED).
An investment in IntelliGreen, a start-up company located in the CAN BE Innovation Center, CAN DO’s small business incubator, is part of a series of emergency investments to help companies accelerate recovery from the economic crisis caused by COVID-19. Funds were provided through a $1 million disbursement from DCED and matched by Ben Franklin of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
The second commitment of funding from Ben Franklin was directed to Summit Utility Structures, LLC, an established manufacturer of tubular poles for use in the utility, lighting, transportation and communication sectors, to support the implementation of their Enterprise Resource Planning application. This funding is matched dollar for dollar and is part of a series of investments with the goal of strengthening our region’s manufacturing firms. Ben Franklin awarded Summit $14,500 to help with the costs for development of the software.
Kenneth G. Okrepkie, Regional Manager for the Pocono Northeast Region of Ben Franklin, has worked closely with CAN DO and CAN BE for several years looking for opportunities to assist start-ups and established businesses in Greater Hazleton. “These two projects are prime examples of working in collaboration with another economic development partner – CAN DO. I have the privilege of serving on the CAN DO Board of Directors, as well as the CAN BE committee, which gives me an opportunity to see and hear what's happening in the community and then bring Ben Franklin's resources to support either the creation or retention of jobs in the Greater Hazleton area,” he said.
“In the case of IntelliGreen, they're an early stage technology company that is growing in the CAN BE incubator. In the early stage, companies need things to grow and reach their fullest potential. In one sense it's capital, so we've made an investment of $50,000 today and there's a chance we'll have a follow up investment shortly,” Okrepkie said.
IntelliGreen’s recently-brought-to-market device, Intelli-Temp, can detect and identify a face, including an individual wearing a mask; direct a person to put on a mask as a requirement to entry; detect a reference temperature within 0.5 degrees accuracy; and provide alerting for fever conditions, all within one second.
Just like CAN BE, Ben Franklin assists entrepreneurs with a network of people with expertise in various areas that can help new companies solve challenges as they arise. “We can make introductions to consultants. Maybe it's in the area of finance. Or maybe it's in the area of sales and marketing. When they’re scaling a technology company, we can provide resources to help them execute on whatever the challenges they might have.
“This is how CAN DO, CAN BE and Ben Franklin work together to help an organization get off the ground and get the resources that they need to reach their full potential, to truly scale and grow in the Greater Hazleton area and eventually move out of the incubator and have a thriving business in southern Luzerne County,” he said.
Okrepkie said Summit Utility Structures is a large manufacturing company that is well established but needed outside assistance with developing the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software to help the company manage their business. “The ERP program will make them more competitive in the marketplace and give them the ability to manage and track all of the data that they need to make good, sound business decisions,” he said.