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Corbett Launches Innovate in PA

A room full of politicians, entrepreneurs and robots - this was the scene Thursday at the Innovation Works AlphaLab as Governor Tom Corbett announced the launch of Innovate in PA.

With the program, the commonwealth will auction $100 million in deferred tax credits to insurance companies.

These companies will then use the credits to raise funds that will go towards start up technology-related businesses - the Ben Franklin Technology Development Partners, three Life Sciences Greenhouses and the Venture Capital Investment program.

“With Innovate in PA, we offer new ways to support creative thinking and business know-how with a vital investment…and we are here to give you that initial boost to prepare the start-ups from that plan on paper, and that paper sometimes might be the back of a cocktail napkin…to a thriving company that embodies the American dream,” Corbett said.

The Ben Franklin Innovation Works is the largest investor in start-up companies in the region.

During his visit to Innovation Works, Corbett saw some of the creations of entrepreneurs that would benefit from the program.

The lab showed Corbett inventions by five companies they have invest in ranging from Aethon’s TUG, which is a robot that can transport hospital carts, to Digital Dream Lab’s cloudBoard, which is a toy that combines videogames and blocks and can be plugged into computers and tablets.

Senator John Blake (D-Lackawanna), the bill’s sponsor, said the program incorporates these tax credits because they are deferred, so they won’t hurt the general fund.

“These are very attractive tax credits to the industry, they will be auctioned - 100 million in credits will be auctioned as the Governor mentioned, to raise probably between $80 and $85 million that will be distributed for execution and implementation and investment by the Ben Franklin Partners, or Life Sciences Greenhouses and our Venture Funds,” Blake said.

According to Corbett, Innovate in PA is projected to create 1,850 technology jobs and nearly 3,500 indirect jobs that more than double the return on investment back to the state.

“With 98 percent of the new jobs in Pennsylvania coming from start-ups and small emerging companies, Innovate in PA is a common sense approach to our economic growth,” Corbett said.

Jess is from Elizabeth Borough, PA and is a junior at Duquesne University with a double major in journalism and public relations. She was named as a fellow in the WESA newsroom in May 2013.
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