The Massachusetts COVID-19 Innovation Challenge was launched as a business accelerator program to identify and grow Massachusetts companies developing innovative solutions to challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Challenge series included four six-week accelerator programs managed by Lever, Inc. and sponsored by the Innovation Institute at MassTech.
Each Challenge was geared toward a different focus, coaching and guiding companies as they pivoted operations to meet the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Challenge series complemented the work of the Commonwealth's Manufacturing-Emergency Response Team, or MERT, a collaborative effort to assist manufacturers pivot to produce critical items necessary to ensure health and safety during the pandemic. The first three Challenges focused on more established companies, working to spark the leadership, innovation, and creativity typically associated with nimble startups, helping the companies to "innovate from within". The fourth challenge focused on budding entrepreneurs, identifying concepts with the potential to spark economic recovery via connective tech with the potential to enhance the flow of goods, services, and information.
Click on the buttons below to read more on each of the four Challenges and the winning firms.
Category: General Use Face Masks
Winner: Speakeasy Travel Supply
On Friday, July 24, 2020, a panel of expert judges declared Speakeasy Travel Supply of Cape Cod the winner of the first COVID-19 Intrapreneur Challenge!
Founded in 2013, Speakeasy, a woman-owned business, makes a wide variety of goods for savvy travelers. Since the pandemic began, the company has pivoted operations to make adjustable cotton face masks for medical workers and the general public. As the winning company, Speakeasy was awarded a $25,000 prize to boost the production of its line of masks.
Category: Innovations to Support Reopening
On Friday, August 21, 2020, a panel of expert judges declared CareAline of Danvers Massachusetts the winner of the second COVID-19 Intrapreneur Challenge!
In standard times, CareAline creates common-sense medical safety garments. In response to the pandemic, CareAline began work on producing reusable isolation gowns. CareAline’s gown design features a high collar to protect the chest and neck, a Velcro fastener that reduces contamination when removing the gown, and even thumbhole cuffs to help keep the cuff inside the glove, protecting the wrists.
Category: COVID-19 Health & Safety Challenge
Winner: Industrial Polymers and Chemicals
On Friday, October 30, 2020, a panel of expert judges declared Industrial Polymers and Chemicals of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, the winner of the Massachusetts COVID-19 Health & Safety Challenge!
Industrial Polymers and Chemicals was founded in 1959 to serve the abrasives industry. In 2000, they purchased the former Quinco Fabrics to enable integration of weaving, coating, and cutting of fiberglass reinforcements to better control quality and reduce manufacturing costs. Today, IPAC is North America’s largest supplier of fiberglass reinforcements to the Abrasives Industry. During the pandemic, IPAC asked the contractors and suppliers they work with what they could do to help stop the spread of COVID-19? After taking in their feedback, they developed a new patent-pending HVAC filtration system to improve the air quality of buildings. The VISTAT family of HVAC filters provides micron and sub-micron filtration for the inactivation of air-borne pathogens like the SARS-CoV-2 virus that is causing the Covid-19 pandemic. The VISTAT filter system provides a low-cost, ease of use, drop-in solution for HVAC units seeking to improve the safety and confidence of circulated air within offices and schools.
Category: Connect Tech Innovations
Winner: Keva Health
On Friday, April 9, 2021, a panel of independent expert judges declared Keva Health of Lexington, Massachusetts, the winner of the Massachusetts COVID-19 Connect Tech Innovations Challenge!
Keva Health’s Asthma Advisor is an app that empowers patients to manage their own care with access to their doctors and care plans, the ability to track peak flow, and educational resources about asthma treatments. Their other respiratory care app is Keva365, is a SaaS platform for allergists and pulmonologists to optimize care and reduce time spent on ongoing care management. It’s also fully reimbursable by most insurers.
Read Press Release: Keva Health of Lexington Wins COVID-19 Connect Tech Innovation Challenge
In the News
"Centerville company wins mask-making challenge", Cape Cod Times, August 30,2020
"CareAline Products wins second ‘Intrapreneur Challenge", The Herald Citizen (Danvers), September 3, 2020
"Industrial Polymers and Chemicals wins Mass Tech’s third Intrapreneur Challenge", Worcester Business Journal (WBJ), November 6, 2020
"Keva Health Wins COVID-19 Connect Tech Innovation Challenge", iBerkshires.com, April 16, 2021