The Allentown Economic Development Corporation and its Bridgeworks Enterprise Center were recognized by the International Business Innovation Association on Friday when it received the IMPACT Award for February 2018. The monthly award distinguishes entrepreneurship centers that are creating economic impact in their communities through a robust variety of programs, spaces, and services that serve the entrepreneurs and early-growth companies that are the engines of job creation.
“Manufacturing remains a very significant part of both Allentown’s economy and the economy of the Lehigh Valley,” said AEDC Executive Director Scott Unger. “We are extremely proud to have our incubator program selected from and by our global peers.”
Bridgeworks received the award along with five other incubator programs around the world. It was recognized in the Specialty category which is for programs that have a unique focus, in this case manufacturing. Other categories are technology, mixed-use, university, rural, and biotech/cleantech.
By receiving the IMPACT Award, Bridgeworks is now eligible for one of the InBIA annual awards: one of two Dinah Adkins Incubator of the Year Awards – one for technology and one for non-technology entrepreneurship programs – and the Randall M. Whaley Incubator of the Year Award.
“We have worked steadily to elevate both the facility and the programming at the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center over the past few years,” explained Anthony Durante, AEDC Program Manager. “When Kirstie Chadwick, President and CEO of InBIA, visited us last fall I think she was surprised and impressed by what we were doing. We’re excited that InBIA has recognized our dedicated efforts.”
The Bridgeworks Enterprise Center is the business incubation program managed by AEDC who founded the program by refurbishing the 64,500 square-foot Mack Trucks Plant 4A in 1989. Over the course of its 29-year existence, the Center has helped launch more than 61 companies in Allentown that have created more than 618 jobs.
Today, the Center is home to eight incubator clients and three anchor tenants. Additionally, several small firms and independent professionals utilize its Flex Office & Coworking space and Make Lehigh Valley occupies and operates the facility’s makerspace. In 2017, the incubator clients earned more than $4.66 million in revenue, employed 51 FTE positions, and paid out more than $1.31 million in salaries and wages. The Bridgeworks Enterprise Center is home to Amorphic Tech Ltd., ColdEdge Technologies, The Colony Meadery, County Seat Spirits, HiJinx Brewing Company, JH Plastics, LightLab International Allentown, MTS Design & Manufacture, Polymer Contours, and Zzyzx Polymers.