Bridgeworks Enterprise Center Continues to Break Records Another Year in a Row

 Annual incubator impact survey shows record results for 2019 incubation program

Allentown, Pa. — June 30, 2020 — The Allentown Economic Development Corporation announced the aggregated results of its annual Incubator Client Impact Survey today. In 2019, the 10 Bridgeworks incubator tenants earned nearly $12 million in revenue, a substantial 69 percent increase over 2018.

“The Impact Survey results demonstrate the collective, positive trajectory of the incubation program,” explained Program Manager David Dunn. “The significant increase in revenue indicates that these businesses are crossing the financial threshold into sustained profitability”.

Collectively, these companies now employ 38 full-time employees and another 35 as either part-time or contracted employees.  The full-time employee head count has grown by 36 percent year-over year. Total salaries, wages, and contractor fees paid to these employees totaled $2,092,920, an 11 percent increase over 2018.

“One of the most important indicators of economic success is an increase in employees. We are extremely pleased by the incubator’s trend regarding this component,” said Dunn. Employee count increased, while the use of outside contractors decreased. Clients continued to transition from 1099 positions to in-house employees. “The decline in contracted workers is a positive sign; it proves that the incubation companies are maturing, gaining business experience, and becoming more self-sufficient. They are continuing the successful evolution from startups into early-stage sustainable businesses.”

Data displayed by the incubation clients from 2019 is extremely encouraging. The results display significant growth in every measurement critical to a startup’s success,” Dunn continues. Additional data collected from the survey showed a decrease in debt capital, meaning the incubation clients had a decreased need to borrow funds and sought less financing throughout the year – an indicator that revenue was meeting their cash needs.  Several clients were able to secure $186,000 more than the previous year in grant funds in order to pursue technology-focused projects.  They also continued the trend of pursuing new patents to protect their  newly-developed intellectual property assets. Additionally, AEDC’s Urban Made program  provided a total of $400,000 in loans between multiple incubation clients during 2019.

“The mission of the incubation program is being demonstrated through its results, both annually and historically,” explained AEDC Executive Director Scott Unger. “Our goal is to continue to assist entrepreneurs as they  launch successful, sustainable businesses that contribute to the area’s economic vitality. The Bridgeworks incubation program is especially unique in that it focuses primarily on manufacturing startups, which lead to the creation of more high-paying jobs that generate more collateral and economic activity than any other sector.”

The annual impact survey of the client companies in the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center incubator program is focused on job creation, company revenues,  loans obtained, grants, and equity investment data.  This data is aggregated into a  report that demonstrates the incubator’s economic impact in  Allentown and the Lehigh Valley.

In 2019, the Bridgeworks business incubation program celebrated its 30th anniversary. In 1988, AEDC purchased the former Mack Trucks Plants 4 and 4A and refurbished the latter into a multi-tenant incubator. Bridgeworks opened its doors in 1989 with its first client-tenant Luminaire Testing Labs. Of the 64 companies that have participated in our program, 34 have graduated, and 28 are still in business. The other 6 successfully exited through mergers and acquisitions with other companies. Bridgeworks client companies have created 626 jobs since the program launched. In addition to its manufacturing incubator suites, which are fully leased in 2020, the facility boasts 10 small and three larger offices that are available to clients both within and outside the incubation program.

About Allentown Economic Development Corporation
Allentown Economic Development Corporation  is an independent nonprofit organization, founded in 1979, whose mission is to improve vacant and underutilized properties within the City of Allentown by assisting manufacturers, business owners and entrepreneurs in obtaining the resources and opportunities they require for success. AEDC is committed to advancing the economic vitality of Allentown and the Lehigh Valley through its three core initiatives; Bridgeworks Enterprise Center, Urban Made and Urban Sites, programs focused on helping businesses grow, receive the support they need and find a home in Allentown.

Over its 30-year existence, the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center, founded in the refurbished Mack Trucks Plant 4A in 1989, has helped launch more than 65 companies in Allentown that have created 630 jobs. It is a member of the Ben Franklin Business Incubator Network. Today, the 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 and Manufacture, Polymer Contours, TRuCapSol and Binah Winery.

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Contact: Erin M. Hudson
Marketing and Communications Specialist
Allentown Economic Development Corp.