Celebrating Entrepreneurs' Success at an Annual Event
- Online registration simplifies logistics for organization
- Ennect Event reduces credit card fees for annual event
Pennsylvania's award-winning Ben Franklin Technology Partners (BFTP) is one of the longest-running technology-based economic development programs in the US. For more than 25 years, BFTP has provided early-stage and established companies with funding, business and technical expertise, and access to a network of innovative, expert resources. Created and funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1983, the Ben Franklin program plays a leadership role in strengthening regional economies, building the state's technology economy, and creating and retaining high-wage, high-skilled jobs.
Every year, Ben Franklin's regional office in Northeastern Pennsylvania—one of four statewide centers —hosts its popular i xchange event, bringing together approximately 600 leading business and technical experts, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, elected officials, university faculty and staff, and health care executives. It's an idea exchange, a time to learn from innovative thinkers, and an opportunity to showcase successful entrepreneurs who've prospered under the wings of the Northeastern PA center.
Simplifying Credit Card Registration for Annual Event
"The i xchange has grown into the premier networking event for the business technology community in Northeastern Pennsylvania," says Laura Eppler, director of marketing for Ben Franklin Technology Partners. "Our organization focuses on creating and maintaining highly paid and sustainable technology jobs in this region. We do that by funding and supporting innovation in early-stage technology firms and established manufacturers. The i xchange provides an opportunity for us to educate stakeholders as to the resources we provide, to celebrate the success of our clients, and to encourage networking among these key players to the benefit of the regional economy."
Ben Franklin Technology Partners previously processed all of the i xchange event registrations manually. They began using Ennect Event several years ago to simplify attendee information-gathering, credit card processing, and reporting. "If you have a high-end annual event and want to make credit card payment easy for guests without creating more work for yourself, Ennect Event is a good way to go," says Eppler.
Lori Hertzog, an administrator who works for the organization, manages the Ennect program. "Attendees like the ability to register online, but we also receive registrations by mail. We process all the credit card payments through Ennect—even those that come in 'snail mail,'" Hertzog explains.
"Credit card processing for this event was a big issue for us," Eppler adds. "We don't have a credit card account, and to accept credit cards for only one event a year is cost-prohibitive. Using Ennect saved us from having to go through the credit card application process and pay annual fees for only one event."
Simplifying Setup of Event Registration Site
Ennect also simplifies year-over-year set up for the organization. Hertzog, who sets up the registration, can easily copy a previous year's online registration site, make necessary tweaks, and reuse it. That includes being able to reuse artwork, content, sponsor information, and registration forms. Using Ennect doesn't require a knowledge of coding since the interface is set up for do-it-yourself use. Free support is also available for customers who need help.
"If you have a high-end annual event and want to make credit card payment easy for guests without creating more work for yourself, Ennect Event is a good way to go."
Director of Marketing
Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania
Ben Franklin Technology Partners even uses Ennect Event for processing walk-in attendees who show up at i xchange without previously registering. "The event venue offers wireless connectivity, so we simply log in to Ennect and register people real-time," say Hertzog. "We charge more at the door. So, the evening before the event, I simply change the registration fee in Ennect."
Since its inception, BFTP of Northeastern PA has started 408 new companies, helped create 14,301 new jobs and helped retain 21,236 existing jobs. And the organization's annual i xchange Innovation Awards ceremony gives the community a great opportunity to recognize and congratulate some of the leading companies and people who are responsible—along with the BFTP—for helping to grow employment and innovation in Northeastern PA.
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