Berkshire Manufacturing Innovation Challenge (BMIC) in Life Sciences

Four teams compete for $25,000 cash and 4 months of incubation at Lever.

The Berkshire Manufacturing Innovation Challenge (BMIC) will award $25,000 of equity-free seed funding, along with four months of no-cost incubation and space, to the startup that presents the most scalable and investable manufacturing business model with application in the life sciences.

Selected teams will have access to top leaders within the manufacturing and medical industries as mentors, one-on-one coaching from Lever staff, and intensive weekend workshops to help them accelerate their business.

Challenge Timeline

Application Phase: August 9th - October 7th

Teams that wish to participate in the Challenge will need to apply by submitting an application found here. We’re happy to help with the application process. Four finalists will be selected from among the applicants and invited to participate in the Workshop Phase.

Workshop Phase: October 22nd - January 24th

Finalists will refine their ideas and optimize their funding potential. They will participate in mentoring sessions, including three weekend workshops, to help advance their business models. Workshop topics include:

  • Lean Startup
  • Customer Development
  • Growth Strategies
  • Fundraising

Incubation Phase: January 28th - May 31st

The winning team will develop their product or service while working full time in North Adams. In addition to the $25,000 equity-free cash prize, the winner of the competition will receive four months of no-cost office space at Lever, fundraising and networking support from the Lever staff, and no-cost housing for two people.


The winning team receives:

  • Cash: $25,000 equity-free. To receive the award, teams must participate in the 4 month incubation period.
  • Incubation: 4 months of office space at Lever, mentoring, fundraising support, and housing.

Runner-up teams who demonstrate progress, market potential, and coachability may also be awarded incubation resources at Lever.


Company Stage

Companies at any stage of development will be considered, from “just an idea” to enterprises already generating revenue. Only companies with less than $500,000 in annual revenue are eligible.

Local Asset Leverage

The proposed or current business must leverage an existing asset in Berkshire County within their model. Although entrepreneurs must specify asset(s) based in the Berkshires, “asset” will be broadly interpreted. The asset could be another company, a space, a program, a natural resource, or a key supplier/buyer.

Growth Potential

To receive award funding, companies must be scalable with high growth potential and can generate a 10-fold return to investors. While we love small, owner-operated "lifestyle businesses,” these will not be eligible for the BMIC.

Manufacturing in Life Sciences

Business models must plan to develop products or services with potential application in the life sciences.


Teams must work full time at Lever during the Incubation Phase.

Key 2018 Dates

  • August 9th: Applications open
  • September 13th: Information session 1
  • September 26th: Information session 2
  • October 7th: Application deadline
  • October 22nd: Finalists announced
  • November 17th: Workshop 1
  • December 15th: Workshop 2
  • January 12th: Workshop 3
  • January 24th: Challenge Finals/Award Announced
  • January 28th - May 31st: Incubation Phase

Application Instructions

  1. Fill out BMIC application found here
  2. Attend one of the scheduled information sessions at Lever
  3. Submit application by 11:59 PM on October 7th via the link


For questions or information, please contact Brent Filson at