BOSTON–The New England Innovation Awards, the oldest and longest-running Innovation Competition in New England celebrated its 35th innovation season last night. Through the years, the Awards have recognized, publicized and fueled innovation and leaders that have a passion for challenging the status quo of doing business, improving lives, and the world as a whole. The recognition and support of the prestigious trophy has helped launch and propel industry-leading companies-like Genzyme, iRobot, Vistaprint, Keurig, MassChallenge and zipcar, to mention a few.
This year marks a home change for the program; the Massachusetts Innovation Network, a 501 (C)(6) non-profit organization was founded to preserve and expand the legacy of the program, and its founder, Robert J. Crowley. New initiatives include more visibility opportunities, funding and market placement assistance, and the expansion of complimentary support services to alumni, well beyond the end of each innovation season. The goal is to better serve the start-up community and thus accelerate innovation, and help build a lasting and thriving ecosystem for entrepreneurs.
The 8-month-long innovation season launched in March, with nearly 100 start-ups, representing 8 categories; 24 teams advanced to the final, live phase of the competition that featured a final pitch, live exhibits and Q&A sessions with the Judges. From July to October, the finalists received extensive mentoring, strategic advice, and an individualized, hands-on support designed to thrust them forward, towards their commercialization and scaling journey.
The season culminated with an exciting Evening of Innovation that celebrated finalists and winners. The evening’s keynote address was delivered by Tom Ryden, Executive Director of MassRobotics, an experienced leader and distinguished innovator. It was Tom’s (and his teammates’) vision to create an innovation hub to serve the needs of the Greater Boston Robotics community only a few short years ago, that has resulted in a buzzing nest of creative thinking and disruptive high-tech solutions that reminisce of StarWars episodes.
The award winners were handpicked by a seasoned group of experienced judges, all successful innovators in their own right, who evaluated the teams on their innovation disruption and prospect to affect positive change for their users, industries and markets.
The 2020 New England Innovation Award Winners are:
Cleantech & Sustainability: change:WATER-Labs
Healthy Living: Rendever
Life Sciences Winner: Frequency Therapeutics
Non-Profit: Reboot Rx
Robotics: Cleo Robotics
Smart Living & IoT: InvisaWear
Technology & IT: Airworks
The Robert J. Crowley Spirit of Innovation Award, which honors the individual or team that embodies the values of breakthrough thinking, passion to improve lives and unwavering commitment to the spirit of advancement was bestowed to Dr. Diana Yousef and her team at change:WATER-Labs.