FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New Program Leverages Massachusetts Resources to Accelerate Innovative Tech to Support Family Caregivers
Supported by a U.S. Department of Commerce Grant and State Support
WESTBOROUGH, MASS. – A new challenge program launched by the Massachusetts eHealth Institute at MassTech (MeHI) and Lever, Inc. of North Adams, Mass., aims to drive economic recovery by boosting the number of digital health tools available to help unpaid caregivers support their loved ones and return to work. The new ‘Massachusetts Digital Health COVID-19 Recovery Challenge’ offers growing digital health companies the opportunity to compete for a total of $250,000 in ‘tuition’ to one of nine research and development ‘Sandboxes’ located across the state.
The Challenge program is designed to identify companies with innovative solutions to assist unpaid caregivers who provide support to loved ones outside of traditional child rearing. Up to eight organizations will be selected to participate in a three-month accelerator run by Lever, where finalists will participate in a series of lean startup workshops and receive tailored mentoring from experts to develop their innovative tool, streamline their business plan, and work on their ‘go-to-market’ strategy.
Applications for the Challenge program are due by Friday, July 30. The Challenge program will culminate in an in-person pitch event in November 2021. In lieu of traditional cash prizes, four finalists will be selected to receive a total of $250,000 in ‘tuition’ to test their product at one of nine cutting-edge R&D organizations in the Massachusetts Digital Health Sandbox Network, helping bolster their company’s growth and advancing the development of their product. The Sandbox Network includes leading R&D facilities run by Baystate Health, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT, MITRE, UMass Amherst, UMass Lowell, UMass Medical School, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
First place will receive $100,000 in Sandbox Tuition, followed by $50,000 each for the second, third, and fourth runners up. All participants in the competition will benefit from the Lever accelerator program, receiving guidance that will help them stress test their business model, gain insight from potential buyers, accelerate the time from R&D to production, and prepare for investor meetings.
Interested applicants can apply on the Massachusetts Digital Health Initiative website, with applications due by July 30, 2021.
The program is funded through the support of a $682,880 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration’s SPRINT Challenge program, awards announced in April 2021. The federal award will be matched by over $200,000 in support from MeHI through the organization’s work under the Massachusetts Digital Health Initiative.
The new program builds on the work of the Digital Health Sandbox program, an effort announced in April 2019 by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker aimed at supporting digital health companies in their product development and expanding the potential user base for the R&D testing facilities.
About the Massachusetts eHealth Institute at MassTech
The Massachusetts eHealth Institute at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, is the Commonwealth’s entity for healthcare innovation, technology, and competitiveness, and partners with industry, government, and healthcare organizations to support the Massachusetts Digital Health Initiative on behalf of Governor Charlie Baker. MeHI also helps all the Commonwealth’s providers harness the benefits of electronic health records and the Mass HIway, the statewide health information exchange. For more information, please visit https://mehi.masstech.org and follow @MassEHealth. Learn more about the Massachusetts Digital Health Initiative at www.massdigitalhealth.org.
Brian Noyes, MassTech/Mass. eHealth Institute
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