From companies that make field hockey sticks to those that manufacture plastic tubing for medical devices, local firms are getting investments to support their growth.
Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania in Bethlehem announced its latest round of funding recipients, with $578,000 invested in seven early-stage firms and five established manufacturers, according to a news release.
The clients are early-stage technology-based firms and established manufacturers in Ben Franklin’s 21 county service area.
Ben Franklin provides the early-stage company investments in the form of loans.
These local companies included:
Neville Gardner, a partner in Phoenix Hockey, said his company plans to use the funds for marketing, to increase inventory and to develop the rest of the brand.
“We are after worldwide markets,” Gardner said. “We are hoping we can make some penetration into Australia, Ireland, and England.”
Gardner also owns two Bethlehem businesses, Donegal Square, which is a gift shop, and McCarthy’s Red Stag Pub & Whiskey Bar.
However, he said hockey has been a long-time passion for him.
“The common thread throughout my whole life was hockey,” Gardner said. “I started playing hockey when I was 10 years old in Ireland.”
He eventually played at the university, came to America from Ireland in 1979 and joined a hockey league. While he met some fellow friends who also played, he got out of the sport for a while and then got re-involved.
Now, he is a co-owner of a company that has six other owners, two of whom were Olympians.
The company has been through the research and development phase and has been making field hockey sticks in the Lehigh Valley, a rarity, since most companies produce them in Third World countries, according to Gardner.
“We’ve developed a slightly more high-tech method, computerized injection molding,” Gardner said.
Phoenix Hockey also worked with local manufacturer Smooth-On of Lower Macungie Township to develop the molds for the sticks. In addition, Phoenix Hockey is developing other products such as uniforms and hockey balls.
For the established manufacturers, Ben Franklin provides one to one matching funding for work with a college or university partner on technology-based innovation.
These local recipients had Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center as their university partner: