Spark Technology Center Plans to Help Start-Ups

Kip Anthony wants to help emerging manufacturing businesses succeed.

Founder of EFE Laboratories and Spark Technology Center located at 700 Park Ave. in Perkasie, Anthony believes Perkasie could become a hub for high-tech, specialized manufacturing companies.

EFE moved from its Horsham facility to the former Secant building, a 35,000-square-foot space in Perkasie’s downtown.

“Our vision for Spark, [a roughly 10,000-square-foot portion of the EFE building] is to create a collaborative environment for companies with a viable product in the market. We would help them scale that to the next level,” Anthony said of Spark.

Anthony said Spark would serve as a start-up accelerator and incubator center, modeled after Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, located on the South Mountain campus of Lehigh University in Bethlehem.

“We want to attract electro-mechanical type manufacturing firms” to Spark, he said.

EFE Laboratories is a contract-based electronics manufacturing company.

Spark would contain the elements needed to grow ideas into commercial products.

“A maker’s space would have a soldering station, and three-dimensional (3-D) printer, access to metal and model shop and we’re looking at adding a laser cutter,” said Spark Spokeswoman Vinitha Moskal.

She said the average time a new company spends in an accelerator center program is from about six to nine months.

“We’d provide them with resources, sales expertise and marketing … and a hands-on manufacturing area as well,” Anthony explained.

He said the goal was to help new start-ups become commercially viable, and then move them “… to come online and become commercial. We want to be part of a solution that drives autonomous independent [business] behavior,” Anthony said.

Stephen Barth is Perkasie Borough’s economic development consultant and founder of Barth Consulting Group in Doylestown.

He said Anthony’s business model and employment culture were ranked among Philadelphia’s top 100 companies to work for. “He’s an innovative and inspiring executive and entrepreneur,” Barth said.

And Perkasie’s economic development focus is to become a high-tech manufacturing community, home to unique specialty manufacturing businesses, according to Barth.

“[EFE and Spark] creates a very exciting entrepreneurial environment for us. They’ll help to prototype [products], test new ideas and concepts and turn dreams into realities,” Barth said.

He said large employers who are also citizens bring important benefits to the communities in which they located.

EFE brought 70 new jobs with expansion plans to add another 30 future jobs to Perkasie.

Anthony said angel investors with whom he’s in discussions are interested in area placements, had “…money to spend and they are serious about moving jobs into the region.”

Spark co-working space will have offices, conference rooms and access to business resources. Spark incubator space will include access to hands-on manufacturing equipment and resources aimed at helping new businesses scale viable prototypes to full commercial product production.

“Kip is very focused on his employees and he wanted a wonderful community for them to live and work. He’ll be a sparking catalyst for the entire Perkasie community,” Barth said.

By: Melinda Rizzo
Republished from https://www.mbtmag.com/blog/2017/04/five-strategic-considerations-american-manufacturing-2017