UMass Lowell’s Haverhill iHub Plans Digital Equity Challenge with Winners Receiving Startup Help

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UMass Lowell’s Innovation Hub in Haverhill and its partners are seeking contestants for its Digital Equity Challenge in April, where winners will be awarded seed money and resources to develop and ultimately launch their ideas.

Winning ideas and projects will address the digital divide and expand digital access, tools and learning opportunities for all Essex County residents. UMass Lowell is working with Essex County Community Foundation, which has highlighted the gap between those who do not have access to computers or the internet and affluent and middle classes. Additional support for the Challenge comes from UMass Lowell’s DifferenceMaker program and EforAll.

“Innovation will play a critical role in closing the digital divide, both in Essex County and beyond,” said Stratton Lloyd, the Foundation’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “We’re really excited to partner with the UMass Lowell Innovation Hub Haverhill, and to collaborate with UML DifferenceMaker and EforAll to help bridge that space between concept and solution and breathe life into ideas that will ultimately better the quality of life for people in our region.”

In the county, one in five homes lacks a basic computer, and 59,000 households—representing 160,000 people—live without fixed broadband, according to a report by the Essex County Community Foundation. The mission of the challenge is to identify outstanding projects that can level the playing field to ensure digital access for every member of the Essex County community

Stephanie Guyotte, associate director of the UMass Lowell Innovation Hub Haverhill, added, “The Digital Equity Challenge is a creative opportunity to bring forward new ideas and give those ideas the resources to flourish.”

Applicants of all ages, including college and high school students, and professionals working in the business and nonprofit sectors are invited to submit ideas and projects by Wednesday, March 23. Individuals with the top innovations will be invited to pitch them at an in-person event Wednesday, April 27.

A panel of expert judges will determine the contest’s winners, who will receive startup programming assistance and access to UMass Lowell’s faculty and research resources, along with opportunities to collaborate with mentors and sponsors to support their projects.

Those with questions may call Stephanie Guyotte at 978-934-5560, email [email protected] or visit

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