“If it weren’t for the Ben Franklin Technology Partners, we wouldn’t be in business today.”

The Ben Franklin statue at the BF TechVentures BuildingThat’s one of the strongest testimonials any business can receive – and Ben Franklin hears it a lot.

Ben Franklin Technology Partners, known in Pennsylvania as “BFTP” or just “Ben Franklin,” is a state-funded economic development organization. BFTP’s four regional centers provide investment, business operations assistance, incubator facilities and networking opportunities to high-tech startup companies, as well as established businesses looking to use technology to modernize and compete.

Simply put, they invest in innovators.

The organization was signed into existence in 1983 by then-Governor Dick Thornburgh. Over the next three decades, BFTP has had a dramatically positive impact on the economy of Pennsylvania. For example, from 2007 to 2011 alone, BFTP was directly responsible for:

  • Providing a 3.6 to 1 return on the state’s investment in the organization
  • Adding $502 million in new state tax revenues
  • Creating 7,485 new jobs in industries that pay 36% higher than the average salary in PA (which in turn created an additional 10,165 jobs in the state beyond those in their clients’ companies)

So what does that have to do with Altitude Marketing?

Well, BFTP was Altitude’s very first client back in 2004 when Andrew Stanten and Stan Zukowski founded the company. At the time, BFTP was more decentralized than it is today. But the four regional centers (which are independent in terms of their core programs, industry focus and geographic region they serve) knew that the time had come to brand the organization more effectively as a statewide entity.

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We’ve worked with BFTP now for 10 years. This year, we were proud to become the lead sponsor for BFTP’s “i xchange,” one of the premiere entrepreneurial awards and networking events in the state.

Now, why in the world would such an established and respected powerhouse of an organization trust some unknown, unproven two-man startup company? Why would they give them the responsibility of executing a complete rebranding effort – one that included the first statewide website, first statewide annual report and first statewide e-newsletter?

Because BFTP believes in entrepreneurs. They understand that risk is a critical component of innovation. And they’re gotten very good at recognizing a diamond in the rough. BFTP saw something in that little startup marketing agency. And in turn, we busted our humps for them – just as they knew we would. We learned fast and got it right (and they were very patient on those few early occasions when we bobbled the ball a bit).

Over the past decade, Altitude’s expertise in the unique marketing needs of high-tech businesses has grown steadily. Without BFTP, we might have become just another generic marketing agency that handles everything – but specializes in nothing.

Instead, we now focus almost exclusively on serving technology-oriented B2B companies. We learned to think like engineers and technologists, not “artsy-fartsy marketing hacks” (as one of our clients so eloquently described their previous agency). And today we have developed a thriving niche serving clients around the world.

Thank you, Ben Franklin.