Rendell Administration Announces $13.6 Million For Technology Projects

Oct 12, 2004, 01:00 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development

    HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Community and Economic
 Development Secretary Dennis Yablonsky today announced more than $13.6 million
 in funding from the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority to support
 Governor Edward G. Rendell's technology-focused economic-development strategy.
     "Investing in Pennsylvania's technology-based projects will create
 high-wage, high-skilled jobs and strengthen Pennsylvania's overall economy,"
 said Secretary Yablonsky.  "Today we are funding innovative initiatives and
 programs to support our strong commitment to the advancement of technology
 here in the Commonwealth."
     A number of significant projects were approved during the BFTDA board
 meeting in late September including projects applied for by NewSpring Capital
 Management LLC; Idea Foundry; Northampton Community College/Electrotechnology
 Applications Center; Pittsburgh Digital Greenhouse; Penn State University and
 Drexel University/University of Pennsylvania and Ben Franklin Technology
 Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
     The BFTDA is a state-funded network dedicated to fostering technology
 innovation, strengthening the Commonwealth's economy and creating and
 retaining high-salary jobs that require advanced skill levels.  The BFTDA
 provides funding for a host of technology initiatives and supports four Ben
 Franklin Technology Partners throughout Pennsylvania that identify the most
 promising technological ventures providing them with technical assistance and
     The Governor's focus and commitment to Pennsylvania's technology-based
 economy is exemplified through the programs that are part of his
 economic-stimulus program.  By leveraging investments that foster
 collaboration among universities, economic development organizations and
 businesses seeking to provide incentives and opportunities will help to keep
 Pennsylvania's intellectual foundation in Pennsylvania.
     The stimulus package contains several programs that focus on technology
 development including the New Pennsylvania Venture Capital Investment Program,
 Second Stage Loan Guarantee, the New Pennsylvania Venture Loan Guarantee
 Program, Keystone Innovation Zones and the Research and Development Tax Credit
 and its tradability.  These programs focus investment in new high-growth
 companies and channel support and funding for companies to expand, create jobs
 and retain Pennsylvania's talent.
     For additional information on any of the stimulus package programs, please
 visit or call 1-(866)-GO-NEWPA (866) 466-3972.
  Please see addendum for more detailed information on the approved projects.
      Technology Company Investment Program:
      Applicant: NewSpring Capital Management LLC
      Project name: NewSpring Mezzanine Capital LP
      Amount awarded: $3,000,000
      Applicant: Idea Foundry
      Project Name: Idea Foundry
      Amount Awarded: $750,000
      Technology Development Grant:
      Applicant: Northampton Community College/Electrotechnology Applications
      Project Name: Reduction of VOC Emission's Using Electron Beam Technology
      Amount Awarded: $396,000
      University Grant Projects:
      Applicant: Pittsburgh Digital Greenhouse
      Project Name: Pittsburgh Digital Greenhouse
      Amount Awarded: $2,500,000
      Applicant: Pennsylvania State University
      Project Name: Penn State Nanotechnology Education, Research and
 Commercialization Program
      Amount Awarded: $3,500,000
      Applicant: Drexel University, University of Pennsylvania, Ben Franklin
 Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania
      Project Name: Nanotechnology Institute (NTI)
      Amount Awarded: $3,500,000
     Technology Company Investment Grants:
     NewSpring Mezzanine Capital LP is a new Fund being formed by NewSpring
 Capital Management LLC.  This venture fund management company is in the
 process of developing a family of funds.  NSC's family of funds portfolio
 consists primarily of Pennsylvania companies, most of which are located in the
 southeast region of Pennsylvania.  The funds are managed by professionals with
 more than 80 combined years of banking, venture capital investment banking and
 operation expertise.
     NewSpring Capital Management was awarded $3 million to provide Mezzanine
 capital in conjunction with equity sponsors, management teams and senior
 leaders.  NSC believes that there is a shortage of mezzanine capital in the
 Fund's target market, the Mid-Atlantic Region.  Currently, the availability of
 senior debt capital to leverage cash flow is extremely scarce.  This Fund is
 being formed to fill that shortage.  The NewSpring Mezzanine fund is pledging
 a minimum of $12 million to Pennsylvania companies and plans to market the
 fund statewide.
     Idea Foundry is a non-profit organization that supplies the critical
 ingredients to transform an entrepreneur's business idea into a
 Pennsylvania-based, fundable start-up.  Idea Foundry bridges the gap of
 business skills, knowledge, funding and relationships, which are vital when
 launching your own information technology-related enterprise.
     The Idea Foundry was awarded $750,000 from the BFTDA Technology Company
 Investment Fund for the utilization of the Transformation Fellowship Program,
 which provides up to $100,000 per company and is used for commercialization
 resources to advance an idea.  The Transformation Fellowship Program will
 facilitate the development of a business around an information technology idea
 developed by the individual(s) granted the fellowship.  The Transformation
 Fellowships are tenable for a period of up to one year.
     The Electrotechnology Applications Center provides assistance to
 businesses and manufacturers to help them increase productivity, improve
 energy efficiency and achieve and maintain environmental compliance.
     ETAC was awarded $396,000 from the BFTDA University Grant Program to
 support the continued development and testing of ETAC's Electron Beam
 Technology to eliminate Volatile Organic Compounds.  VOCs are groups of
 organic compounds characterized by their tendency to evaporate easily at room
 temperature.  Some familiar substances containing VOCs are solvents, gasoline,
 paint thinners, and nail polish remover.
     At the successful completion of the development and testing, the goal is
 to have the systems manufactured in Pennsylvania and be used by a broad range
 of industries.  This project estimates that the system manufacturers will
 create approximately 42 new jobs within one year.  Manufacturers across the
 Commonwealth will benefit from the use of these systems by reducing their VOC
 abatement costs and thus becoming more profitable and competitive.
     University Grant Projects:
     Pittsburgh Digital Greenhouse is a strategic economic development
 initiative established to foster growth across a regional industry cluster
 that is developing and employing System on Chip and related technologies for
 networking and multimedia applications.  The PDG mission is to leverage
 existing strengths in the universities and business community to develop an
 electronic chip design industry cluster in the Commonwealth.
     Pittsburgh Digital Greenhouse was awarded $2.5 million from the BFTDA
 University Grant Program and the University Investment Grant Program for the
 Electronic Design Technology Development Program.  This program will focus on
 providing a cost-effective mechanism for PDG members to collaborate on
 advanced technology development.  Through this collaboration, member firms and
 universities will identify pre-competitive technology challenges and jointly
 support a set of advanced technology projects to accelerate the creation of
 new product concepts.
     The EDTD Program will offer firms the opportunity to make a highly
 leveraged investment in short- to medium-term projects that explore visionary
 new product concepts for this emerging market sector.
     Penn State Nanotechnology Research and Commercialization Project was
 awarded $3.5 million to be used for support of The Penn State nanotechnology
 education, research and commercialization program.  The grant will provide
 state co-funding for majority of federally sponsored nanotechnology research
 centers at Penn State.  The grant will also support nanotechnology research
 seed grants, which are intended to be stepping stones that will help initiate
 new high-risk/high-reward lines of research with prospects to develop into
 significant new research thrusts.
     The BFTDA grant will also provide the ability for Penn State University to
 leverage National Science Foundation funds for nanofabrication research and
 maintain a state-of-the-art facility that garners state, national and
 worldwide attention.  Research conducted at the nanofabrication facility will
 likely lead to the development of products and technologies with great
 commercialization potential.
     The Nanotechnology Institute began as an initial alliance led by Ben
 Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Drexel University
 and the University of Pennsylvania.  The NTI is now comprised of 11 academic
 and research institutions, 12 corporations and 13 non-profit economic
 development and business organizations.  It is the first comprehensive model
 of its kind designed to facilitate the research, development and communication
 of nanotechnologies' real world application.
     The Nanotechnology Institute was awarded $3.5 million by the BFTDA to
 continue the success of the Nanotechnology Institute Program and carry out the
 full range of functions proposed by the NTI.  This grant will assist in
 helping to further integrate all of these investments into a statewide
 nanotechnology strategy to enable the Commonwealth to compete at the top
 levels in its areas of strength.
     CONTACT:  Neil R. Weaver of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and
 Economic Development, +1-717-783-1132.

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development