WALTHAM, MA-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. 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." – Governor Charlie Baker
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 a woman on the management team and three times more 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.
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.