all news

MBI Announces 2023 Challenge Grant Recipients

October 20, 2023 / press release

Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives (MBI) Announces 2023 Challenge Grant Recipients

MBI Challenge Grants program aims to increase the diversity of the life sciences workforce


Worcester, MA (October 20, 2023) – Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives (MBI), the longest-running life sciences incubator in the Commonwealth, announced the recipients of its 2023 Challenge Grants program. This year, in addition to its Increasing Diversity in STEM Challenge Grants and Workforce Challenge Grants, MBI also announced its first ever recipients of its new “Empowering Minority Entrepreneurs in STEM Grant” program which will funds both an organization supporting minority entrepreneurship as well as individual entrepreneur. MBI’s Challenge Grants help fund programs that increase the diversity of the life sciences workforce while also solving the industry’s future workforce needs.


“Worcester is home to largest foreign born adult population of any Massachusetts Gateway City as well as 13 colleges and universities and over 60 already established biotech companies. Our Challenge Grants program connects these communities so that we can create pipelines for talent to support our growing life sciences sector while supporting increased diversity in the industry,” said Jon Weaver, President and CEO of MBI. “We are proud of the meaningful work all of our grant recipients are doing to support life sciences companies that are bring lifesaving products to patients in a thoughtful, sustainable, and inclusive way.”


MBI welcomed all Challenge Grant recipients to its 17 Briden Street facility in Worcester last week to meet other recipients, create opportunity for connection and collaboration amongst recipients, and for recipients to tour of the facility and meet the emerging life sciences companies that reside at MBI. Recipients also received a certificate from State Representative John Mahoney (D-Worcester) and Kevin Kuros from the Massachusetts Office of Business Development (MOBD).


A report from CBRE titled Life Sciences Research Talent 2022 ranked Worcester the 15th best market in the US for life sciences research talent. In addition, MassBio predicts that 40,000 new Life Science jobs will be created by 2024. As a result, there is a growing need for programs that assess future job opportunities and generate certificates that align with the minimum requirements for employment within the industry.


This year’s grant recipients include:


Increasing Diversity in STEM Grant recipients:

  • BioBuilder Educational Foundation: For the development of a High School Apprenticeship Challenge program in Worcester
  • Latino Educational Institute: For their program that provides students with STEM experience through STEM expos, LIDER program (Latinos Involved in Discovering Educational Resources), & ASPIRE Summer Academy
  • Quinsigamond Community College: For their program to provide underrepresented, underserved middle/high schoolers from 8 different regional schools with a head start through a series of STEM activities


Workforce Challenge Grant recipients:


Empowering Minority Entrepreneurs in STEM Grant recipients:

  • Massachusetts Life Science Center: For the continuation and expansion of the MassNextGen initiative
  • Lina Gonzalez: Founder of SpadXTech, an MBI company that uses microbes and synthetic biology to produce high performance, circular materials to significantly reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.



About Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives

MBI is the longest running life sciences incubator in the Commonwealth. MBI’s mission is to be a partner for fostering innovation in the life sciences by helping companies bring lifesaving products to patients, create jobs, and promote economic development in Central MA and throughout the Commonwealth. It is estimated that since 2000, MBI has assisted over 175 companies that have created over 1,025 jobs and raised over $1,000,000,000.


Media Contact:

Alicia Curran, [email protected], cell: 407-797-2076