Wilkes University


Allan P. Kirby Enterprise Center At Wilkes University Joins Ben Franklin Business Incubator Network

Network Is One of Largest Incubator Networks in U.S.

The Allan P. Kirby Enterprise Center at Wilkes University has become part of one of the largest incubator networks in the U.S. The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/NEP) expanded its Ben Franklin Business Incubator Network to include the Kirby Enterprise Center and three others, bringing the total number of incubators in its network to 14.

Other new additions to the incubator network are Jump Start Incubator,Reading; The Stourbridge Incubator,Honesdale; and The TekRidge Center,Jessup. Business incubation provides vital support to entrepreneurs and early-stage firms at their most vulnerable times and is often pivotal to their survival and prosperity. With 33 years owning and managing its own incubator, BFTP/NEP was one of the pioneers of business incubation in the nation. Ben Franklin’s experience in business incubation has been recognized with its Ben Franklin TechVentures® winning the National Business Incubator Association Incubator of the Year Award on two occasions.

The Allan P. Kirby Enterprise Center at Wilkes University opened in March 2015. Located on the sixth floor of the Luzerne Bank Building, 67 Public Square in Wilkes-Barre, the incubator is an initiative of the Allan P. Kirby Center for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship at Wilkes. Businesses in the Enterprise Center receive support in the form of office space and advising from an executive in residence, the Kirby Scholars Program, a team of volunteer business advisors, and from members of SCORE. Specially selected Wilkes University students are Kirby Scholars, providing help to businesses in fields such as communications, marketing, graphic design, accounting and more. Advising may include help with business plans, marketing and other things needed to grow the businesses.

Since its inception, the Kirby Enterprise Center has assisted approximately 70 unique client companies representing 20 industries. Seven of the client businesses have been issued patents and nine businesses have patents pending.

The Ben Franklin Business Incubator network is an important element in BFTP/NEP’s strategy for developing the technology infrastructure in its 21-county northeastern Pennsylvania region. Ben Franklin staff meet with incubator network managers annually to exchange ideas and information, work collaboratively, and provide guidelines and training that are in accordance with National Business Incubation Association standards.

The reduced operating costs of starting a company in a business incubator are typically what initially draw early-stage companies to an incubator facility. But the business development assistance and sharing of best practices among tenants are often even more important.

BFTP/NEP owns and manages both Ben Franklin TechVentures and the Bloomsburg Regional Technology Center. Members of the newly expanded Ben Franklin Business Incubator Network are: 

1. Ben Franklin TechVentures®
Bethlehem – www.nep.benfranklin.org/incubator-network/ben-franklin-techventures/

2. The Bloomsburg Regional Technology Center
Bloomsburg –  http://nep.benfranklin.org/incubator-network/bloomsburg-regional-technology-center/

3. Bridgeworks Enterprise Center
Allentown - http://www.allentownedc.com/

4. Carbondale Technology Transfer Center
Carbondale – www.4cttc.org

5. East Stroudsburg University Innovation Center
East Stroudsburg – www.esu.edu/busaccelerator 

6. The Enterprise Center
Sayre – www.sayreenterprisecenter.com

7. The Greater Hazleton CAN BE
West Hazleton – www.canbe.biz 

8. The Innovation Center @ Wilkes-Barre
Wilkes-Barre – http://connect.wilkes-barre.org/

9. Jump Start Incubator
Reading - www.jumpstartberks.org

10. Allan P. Kirby Enterprise Center at Wilkes University
Wilkes-Barre - www.wilkes.edu/kirby

11. Pottsville/Schuylkill Technology Incubator
Pottsville – www.incubator-tech.com 

12. The Scranton Enterprise Center
Scranton – www.scrantonenterprisecenter.com  

13. The Stourbridge Incubator
Honesdale - http://stourbridgeproject.com

 14. The TekRidge Center
Jessup - http://scrantonplan.com/tekridge.html


About the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania
The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/NEP), an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority, creates and retains highly paid, sustainable jobs by linking companies with experts, universities, funding, and other resources to help them prosper through innovation. BFTP/NEP’s strategy encompasses three key areas: 

  1. developing early-stage technology-oriented companies,
  2. helping established manufacturers creatively apply new technology and business practices to achieve industry leadership, and
  3. promoting an innovative community-wide infrastructure that fosters a favorable business environment for high-growth companies.

Since beginning operation, BFTP/NEP has helped to create 16,986 new jobs for Pennsylvania workers and to retain 23,761 existing jobs, to start 482 new companies, and to develop 1,433 new products and processes. BFTP/NEP clients have generated $1.4243 billion in follow-on funding. The Pennsylvania Ben Franklin Technology Partners network has returned $3.60 to the state treasury for every $1.00 invested in the program. 

Laura S. Eppler
Director of Marketing
Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania