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ERIE, PA – Ben Franklin Technology Partners is pleased to announce a partnership with the Erie Community Foundation creating the Hartman Innovation Fund for startup technology and existing small manufacturers in Erie County, PA. The $300,000 fund combines capital from both organizations and will invest in and promote business growth and economic development, exclusively in Erie County. The goal is to help entrepreneurs and their companies to develop new products, start new tech-based companies, or gain access to new markets, creating family sustaining jobs and a positive economic impact.

Those who are interested in learning more about the fund and to be considered for an investment should contact Brian Slawin – Portfolio Manager in Ben Franklin’s Northwest Office located in Erie – at:  or .

Ben Franklin Technology Partners, an award-winning technology based economic development program, is among the most widely known and emulated initiatives in the nation. A private/public partnership with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Penn State University, the program has been investing in tech startups and small manufacturers in Pennsylvania, for nearly 40 years.

 Erie Community Foundation President and CEO Karen Bilowith remarked, “Through this partnership, we are implementing the wishes of our donor who wanted Erie to thrive with businesses establishing roots and offering successful career paths. The newly established Hartman Innovation Fund is an exciting example of how a donor can make transformational change in perpetuity.”

Brian Slawin, Ben Franklin’s Northwest Pennsylvania Regional Director, commented, “We are very honored to have this opportunity to partner with the ECF’s Hartman Innovation Fund.  Their dollars, matched by our program, have the potential to assist several emerging Erie County entrepreneurs, in various stages of product development, begin to commercialize their efforts or hire their first employees. Ben Franklin will also provide these new companies with business mentoring and support services that can include assistance with marketing, financial management, human resources, and strategic planning at no cost.”

About Ben Franklin Technology Partners

Ben Franklin Technology Partners/CNP, an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority, provides investment capital and operational assistance to emerging tech-based companies and small, existing manufacturers for the purpose of creating and retaining jobs in Pennsylvania.  Contact the Erie office of Ben Franklin in Knowledge Park at (814) 898-6650 or see our website at