The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) has announced the launch of the Massachusetts Next Generation Initiative (MassNextGen), a new competitive program for women entrepreneurs in early stage life sciences companies. MassNextGen will begin as a five year, $1 million commitment focused on advancing diversity and providing support for the next generation of life science entrepreneurs.
“The strength of startup life sciences companies is critical to Massachusetts innovation economy and we are committed to building diversity and empowering more women entrepreneurs in this growing field,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This initiative will help more women-led companies to thrive, leveraging additional sources of capital and support to create new jobs and bring cutting edge innovation to the marketplace.”
The lack of diversity in life sciences is real. According to Babson College’s The Diana Project, between 2011 and 2013, only 15% of companies receiving venture capital investment had a woman on the executive team. Only 3% of the total venture capital dollars in the U.S. went to companies with a woman CEO. Seed stage money is the hardest for women executives to come by. Venture capital firms with women partners are twice as likely to invest in companies with awoman on the management team and three timesmore likely to invest in companies with women CEOs. The life sciences ecosystem (entrepreneurs and investors) benefits from having more diverse leaders with talent and bright ideas.
“Women continue to be among the groups most underrepresented in the life sciences. We also know that they are essential members of an innovative and thriving ecosystem,” said Travis McCready, President & CEO of the MLSC “The Center is committed to being an agent of change, launching this initiative so that the next generation of life science entrepreneurs is appropriately diverse.”
Takeda, the anchor sponsor of this initiative, is the first private partner to kick off the program by providing $50,000 to match the MLSC $50,000 each year for five years. As a result, $100,000 in funding is available for the inaugural year of the program. An additional $100,000 of in-kind support and coaching from an illustrious network of seasoned entrepreneurs and investors as executive coaches will be available to winners each year. This public-private partnership demonstrates a strong commitment to ensuring support for diversity in the next generation of life science entrepreneurs.
“Takeda is committed to diversity, inclusion and being active participants in our community,” said Christophe Bianchi M.D., President, Takeda Global Oncology Business Unit, Takeda Boston Site Head. “Our contributions to the MassNextGen program and collaboration with the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center will further elevate the innovations that are being created by women-led companies, which have strong potential to make a difference in the future of our industry and the lives of patients.”
MassNextGen will help more women-led companies to thrive, leveraging sources of capital and support to create new jobs and bring cutting edge innovation to the marketplace. The strength, breadth and variety of early-stage life sciences companies is a critical element of the Massachusetts life sciences ecosystem. (Source: MLSC Website, November 10, 2017)
Please check the MLSC website for updates to the program as it gets closer to its launch in January 2018. If you have any questions, please e-mail MassNextGen@masslifesciences.com