The Mercer County Innovation Fund (MCIF) is a partnership between Penn-Northwest Development Corporation and Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central and Northern PA to provide funding to tech-based start-ups and small, existing manufacturers located in Mercer County that are in the process of developing a new product or process.
Other local partners that have helped contribute to this fund include Shenango Valley Enterprise Zone, Community Hope Investment Partnership Group, Greenville Area Economic Development Corp., and the City of Hermitage.
Who is eligible?
Investments from MCIF will be focused on two types of companies:
Existing Companies: Manufacturing companies located in Mercer County, PA classified as small businesses with less than 500 employees that have a new product, process, or market that is likely to result in increased competitiveness or a new business opportunity.
Emerging Companies: Early-stage companies with a significant business presence in Mercer County, PA facing difficulty locating traditional sources of financing where the company or entrepreneur is able to produce a plan for the development of technology, a credible commercialization plan, matching funds of a minimum level of one-to-one, and are likely to create new job opportunities and wealth within Mercer County, PA.
Any company that receives MCIF investment and subsequently moves their headquarters, senior leaders or a significant staff presence outside of Mercer County, PA will have to pay back those funds, in full.
How much funding can I receive?
The Mercer County Innovation Fund is a $1,000,000 investment fund for companies seeking up to $100,000 of startup or growth capital.
Typically, approved companies will receive a Convertible Note investment. More information on the specifics of the note is available from the portfolio manager.
- Companies seeking equity investments are also encouraged to express interest in the MCIF.
- The MCIF will typically not make an asset-based loan but we can direct you to partners in Mercer County, PA that can.
- MCIF investments do not require personal guarantees, asset pledges, or other points or fees.
Portfolio companies will also have access to – at no cost – business support services from the Ben Franklin Technology Partners / Central & Northern PA staff, other mentors, and others with startup and appropriate business experience. These services include:
- Multiple “exited” portfolio managers and startup operators
- Entrepreneurs in Residence and other Central Skills team members with expertise in HR, financing, legal, research, competitive insights, business technology, operational support, and sales support.
- No-cost access to the Ben Franklin Learning Center
- All MCIF companies are eligible for follow-on funding and also networked to Angel and Venture Investors. . . all at no cost.
For those companies that qualify, Ben Franklin Technology Partners can invest up to $1,000,000 to support startups in Mercer County, PA.
What can I do with the funding?
The investment capital can be used for a wide variety of business needs such as:
- Prototype development
- Marketing Supports
- Sales support
- Hiring staff
- And more. . .
All MCIF investments require a $1:$1 cash match infused by the business for operations and growth.
- This can include individual, institutional, operational and other capital.
- A total of a $3:$1 total match can include significant in-kind contributions.
- The portfolio manager will be able to understand your specific situation and explore how you can best use the investment.
Are there any other benefits?
Additionally, Ben Franklin Technology Partners can write checks from $50,000 to $1 million from its own funds, to support startups in the area.