Annual Impact Survey Shows Record Results for 2020 Incubation Program

The Allentown Economic Development Corporation announced the aggregated results of its annual Incubation Impact Survey today. In 2020, the number of clients in the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center grew to a total of 11 companies, earning nearly $16 million in revenue. Revenue total shows a substantial 33 percent increase over 2019. Collectively, the 11 manufacturing businesses employ 39 full-time employees and another 33 as either part-time or contracted employees. Salaries, wages, and contractor fees paid to employees totaled $2,432,194, a 16 percent increase over 2019.

The Impact of COVID-19

“The Impact Survey results demonstrate the collective, positive trajectory of AEDC’s Bridgeworks Enterprise Center incubation program,” explained Program Manager David Dunn. “Each year, we look for specific increases as indicators that these businesses are crossing the financial threshold into sustained profitability.”

Throughout the majority of 2020, COVID-19 restrictions caused incubation clients to experience varying levels of success and challenges based on product demand. Regarding the pandemic, Dunn said, “Our latest results reflect the strength of our incubator clients even in the challenging economic environment caused by COVID-19.  Some businesses struggled against the imposed restrictions, but ultimately, were able to hold their ground, while other clients prospered due to the even greater demand for their product or service.”

“Several manufacturers experienced double-digit growth in employees, sales, and profits.  With strong financials, businesses were able to acquire the funding they needed to fuel their growth, invest in technology, and secure their intellectual property.  As the pandemic cloud slowly dissipates, our clients tell us that their business opportunities look even more promising for 2021,” says Dunn.


A Positive Trend

Incubation clients were able to secure a combined $274,800 in federally funded assistance and $65,000 from state-funded sources to run technology-focused projects.  They also continued the trend of securing their intellectual property, resulting in a 50 percent increase in new patents. The manufacturers secured six provisional patents, 11 US and International patents, and seven trademarks for an aggregated 24 new intellectual property assets.

“Our goal is to continue to assist entrepreneurs as they launch successful, sustainable businesses that contribute to the area’s economic vitality. The results of our most recent Impact Survey indicate the underlying importance of manufacturing to the local and regional economy,” explained AEDC Executive Director Scott Unger. “Manufacturing remains one of the key drivers of innovation. It broadens employment opportunities for our residents while providing tax base stability to local government.”


The Bridgeworks Enterprise Center Incubation Program

The annual Impact Survey collects data from client companies in the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center incubation program. The survey focuses on job creation, company revenue, loans obtained, grants, and equity investment data.  Data is aggregated into a report that demonstrates the incubator’s economic impact in Allentown and throughout the Lehigh Valley.

The Bridgeworks Enterprise Center was originally founded in the refurbished Mack Trucks Plant 4A in 1989. Over its 30-year existence, the Center has helped launch more than 65 companies in Allentown and helped create over 625 jobs. 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. In addition to manufacturing suites, the Center offers coworking space and Flex office space of various sizes. Flex offices are available to clients within and outside the incubation program. Bridgeworks Enterprise Center is a member of the Ben Franklin Business Incubator Network.

Lauren Matthews