BETHLEHEM, PA--(Marketwire - May 25, 2011) - The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/NEP) board approved the investment of $130,000 in regional companies. BFTP/NEP is an award-winning, state-funded economic development organization that links early-stage technology firms and established manufacturers with experts, universities, funding, and other resources to help them prosper through innovation.

Since beginning operation, BFTP/NEP has helped to create 14,922 new jobs and retain 21,358 existing jobs, to start 420 new companies, and to develop 1,017 new products and processes. Ben Franklin has returned $3.50 to Pennsylvania for every $1.00 invested in the program.

BFTP/NEP will invest in one early-stage technology firm:

Piratecom LLC, Reading - $50,000
Complete product enhancements and implement a strategic plan to expand sales of Piratecom's noise-reducing communication devices. Piratecom produces novel wired and wireless intercom systems and accessories for use in noisy environments in which accurate communication is essential. Beginning with the marine industry, the company will later expand into other market sectors.

Ben Franklin announces two established manufacturer investments:

Bazzini Holdings, Allentown - $50,000
Partner: Lehigh University
Complete an Enterprise Resource Planning implementation that supports the consolidation of Bazzini's operations to a single facility in the Lehigh Valley. This producer of nuts, fruits, and confections will garner significant savings through the consolidation, which will allow it to compete more effectively and support the company's anticipated growth.

Demco Automation, Quakertown - $30,000
Partner: Lehigh's Enterprise Systems Center
Select and implement a new Enterprise Resource Planning System for this developer and manufacturer of custom automation equipment and controls. Demco's patented modular and reconfigurable automation platforms are used for assembling, testing, inspecting, and packaging small parts. The new system will enable Demco to double its sales by 2014.

Contact Information:

Laura S. Eppler
Director of Marketing
Phone: (610) 758-5237