Massachusetts Next Generation Initiative

Program Overview

The Massachusetts Next Generation Initiative (MassNextGen) is a five year, $1 million commitment to ensure greater gender parity in the next generation of life science entrepreneurs. Increasing the number of successful entrepreneurs is in the best interest of the entire life science industry and as such, this initiative is a public-private partnership between the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and our corporate sponsors Takeda and King Street Properties.

Each year, following a competitive program, women-led early-stage life science companies will be awarded a year-long customized package of support, which includes non-dilutive grant funding and access to a network of seasoned Executive Coaches from the life sciences ecosystem to refine their business strategies and effectively raise capital.

Up to $100,000 of non-dilutive capital is available for the inaugural year of the program to be distributed to winners of a competitive process. An additional $100,000 of in-kind support and coaching from an illustrious network of seasoned entrepreneurs and life science investors as executive coaches will be available to winners of the first year’s challenge. 

Why MassNextGen?

It is clear the system is broken and that a lack of diversity in life sciences is a problem[1] at all levels of the ecosystem. This underrepresentation has real consequences not only for individual careers, but also for the amount of new innovative therapeutics that make it to patients. Specifically for women entrepreneurs, there is well documented bias when raising funds. Between 2011 and 2013, only 15% of the companies receiving venture capital investment had a woman on the executive team. However, 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[2]. Gender parity is not only about equal representation. It’s about a strong business case that supports a diverse ecosystem. Research shows that companies with more diverse leadership do better. Several studies have demonstrated that companies, including biotechs, with diverse boards, even those with at least one woman on their board, outperform companies with all-male boards[3]. Other studies show that diverse teams find more creative solutions to problems[4]. Having more women at all levels of our ecosystem makes our industry stronger.

This initiative is designed to support women entrepreneurs, giving them the tools they need to overcome the bias they face. These tools include expanding their network, increased visibility within our ecosystem, and directly investing in their ventures via non-dilutive capital. We look forward to featuring standout Massachusetts women-led life science companies over the course of the next 5 years. We also look forward to partnering with industry members to make it happen!

Executive Coaching Network

Executive Coaches are an essential part of MassNextGen. Armed with experiences from investing in, partnering with, and running their own early-stage life science companies, they bring a real-world perspective to the program. Coaches are passionate about diversifying life science entrepreneurship and generously donate their time to coaching session throughout the year. Like our sponsors, our coaches reflect the strong desire and commitment from our community to see women succeed at all levels of our ecosystem.

To meet our coaches and view their bios, click here.

MassNextGen Awardees

Five exceptional leaders in the biotech industry are honored by Massachusetts’ Next Generation. These woman come from diverse backgrounds and run companies doing a wide span of work in disease detection, prevention, and curbing addiction. They all share a passion for science entrepreneurship and a dedication to unparalleled advances in biotechnology.

To meet our awardees, click here

Sponsorship

Takeda is the first private partner to kick off this program by providing $250,000 over the next five years which is being matched by MLSC funds. Takeda has demonstrated a clear dedication to strengthening the Massachusetts life sciences industry by supporting women-led companies and having as many talented and smart people at the table as possible.

We are now accepting additional sponsors that are committed to making change in the life sciences ecosystem through supporting women-led life sciences companies. Sponsors will have an opportunity to participate in MassNextGen through judging, coaching, and other potential partnerships.

If you are interested in sponsoring the MassNextGen Initiative, please reach out to Jennifer Griffin, Vice President of Industry Programs & Relations at JGriffin@masslifesciences.com.

Coverage of MassNextGen In The News

WBUR: New $1 Million Initiative Aims To Boost Women In Biotech

Boston Business Journal: Takeda, State Officials Unveil $1M Initiative Backing Women Entrepreneurs

If you have any questions regarding the initiative, email MassNextGen@masslifesciences.com.

[1]Stasiak L, Simpson K. Opening the Path to a Diverse Future. Liftstream. 2017
[2]Balachandra, L., Blank, A., Brush, C., Davis A., Greene, P. The Diana Report Women Entrepreneurs 2014: Bridging the Gender Gap in Venture Capital. Babson College, 2014
[3]Patel R., Stasiak L., Simpson K. A Public Reality for Women in Biotech Boardrooms. Liftstream, 2017
[4]Dodgson L., Diverse companies see higher profit and have better focus — here’s why. Business Insider, 2017

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