News & Events


Ben Franklin Technology Partners, an award-winning, tech-based economic development program, is offering emerging entrepreneurs and small manufacturers the opportunity to participate in our fun, risk-free $50,000 BIG IDEA Contest.  In the past few years – maybe because of the popularity of the TV show, Shark Tank – there has been a growing interest in pitch competitions by the private sector, economic development professionals, and just regular folks who have an idea for an innovation that could turn into a business opportunity.

So, why do most people enter Ben Franklin’s BIG IDEA Contest?  Because they want to win! Since the contest’s inception, nearly $2 million in cash prizes have been awarded throughout the program’s 32-county footprint in central and northern Pennsylvania.  Winning up to $50,000 will go a long way in helping infuse a startup with much-needed cash.  But, the pitch experience gained, the training offered, and the contacts made are worth every bit as much as the prize money.

For this $50,000 BIG IDEA Contest, which opens on May 14, 2021, we are looking for tech innovators located anywhere in our 32-county footprint in Pennsylvania (Northwest, Central, Southern Alleghenies, and South Central) who are developing new products, processes, or software applications.

For a complete list of the eligible counties visit

If you have not previously received Ben Franklin funding, won a prize from either a contest or a TechCelerator Startup Boot Camp, and you currently do not have more than $500,000 in sales, you are eligible to apply. Visit  for rules and entry form. The deadline is August 23, 2021 at 5:00 PM

For more Information:  Annie Hughes/717-948-4301 or or Liz Wilson/814-898-6541 or

About Ben Franklin: The largest early-stage investor in our region, 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, operational assistance, BIG IDEA contests, and TechCelerator Startup Boot Camps to emerging tech-based companies and small, existing manufacturers to create and retain jobs in Pennsylvania.  Visit Ben Franklin’s website at or phone the Harrisburg office at 717-948-6339.