Finalists Selected for Second COVID-19 Response Challenge

Wednesday, August 5, 2020



Finalists Selected for Second COVID-19 Response Challenge

Second cohort of the “COVID-19 Intrapreneur Challenge” aims to boost Massachusetts companies developing products or services to help reopen the economy

WESTBOROUGH, MA — Nine intrapreneurs from companies across Massachusetts have been selected as finalists for Lever’s second COVID-19 Intrapreneur Challenge, which focuses on helping Massachusetts companies pivot operations to produce innovations that support the state’s reopening.

During this Challenge, intrapreneurs from nine finalist companies from around Massachusetts will develop prototype(s), business plans, market analysis, and market strategies for innovations that support the Commonwealth’s reopening guidelines. On August 21st, intrapreneurs will present their plans to a panel of experts, who will select one team to receive a $25,000 COVID-19 Intrapreneur Challenge grant award.

While most challenges are focused on early-stage entrepreneurs, Lever has pioneered a unique approach to supporting innovation at more mature companies. By working with product development staff at these established firms, or intrapreneurs, participants are able to "innovate from within" and to spark the type of leadership, innovation, and creativity typically associated with nimble startups. Lever is working with these intrapreneurs to optimize product-market fit, build a solid business plan, and develop robust go-to-market strategies over the five-week program. Intrapreneurs are also given access to manufacturing know-how, various domain experts, and prospective purchasers of their innovations. 

The COVID-19 Intrapreneur Challenge II finalists are:

  • Northampton,  Phillips Enterprises Inc., Julee Clement
  • Danvers, CareAline Products, Kezia Fitzgerald
  • Lawrence, Pyxis Global, Zoe Grant
  • Andover, Landmark Finish, Inc., Deanna Junge
  • Tyngsborough, Northeast Biomedical, Elizabeth Nelson
  • New Bedford, TrueBounce Inc., Wayne Newton
  • Somerville, Quanta Collaboration, Armando Paredes
  • Spencer, Flexcon, Bill Sullivan  
  • Woburn, Shear Color Printing, Inc., Joel Weitzman

Lever’s Intrapreneur Challenge complements the work of the Massachusetts Manufacturing-Emergency Response Team (M-ERT), led by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. Additional challenges will focus on other products and services necessary to ensure health and safety during the pandemic and beyond.

The finale of the first Intrapreneur Challenge was completed on Friday, July 24th. Speakeasy Travel Supply of Cape Cod was selected as the grand prize winner by a panel of expert judges for their innovative design for a general-use face mask. The first Challenge featured pitches from 11 established Massachusetts companies.

Learn more about the Challenge at


About the Innovation Institute at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative

The MassTech Collaborative is a quasi-public economic development agency that strengthens the competitiveness of the tech and innovation economy by driving strategic investments, partnerships, and insights that harness the talent of Massachusetts.  The Innovation Institute is the division of MassTech that advances its core mission of innovation and cluster growth across the Commonwealth.  Created in 2003, the Innovation Institute intervenes in the economy in the following four ways:

  • Conducts research and analysis that improves the state’s understandings of unmet needs and opportunities in the innovation economy;
  • Serves as convener and key strategic broker on the landscape;
  • Manages high-value projects on behalf of the Commonwealth; and
  • Makes strategic investments in support of innovation-based economic development.


About Lever, Inc.

Founded in 2014, Lever’s mission is to develop a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Berkshire region. It supports entrepreneurs with expertise, work space, an investment fund, research, mentors, and access to talent. Lever has helped launch dozens of companies that have attracted more than $7M in equity investment. To date, Lever-supported companies have created more than 150 jobs. Lever’s intern program has placed more than 115 college students in paid internships at Berkshire County companies, many of whom have gone on to enter the permanent workforce here.