A company working to manufacture an airplane part that could save fuel, money and lives has been named the recipient of a $25,000 grant in the latest entrepreneurial challenge organized by Lever Inc.

According to Brent Filson, director of programs and operations at Lever, four finalists were selected in October. They have been competing since then for award funding from the Berkshire Manufacturing Innovation Challenge focusing on the life sciences offered by Lever.

The Berkshire Eagle  reports Lever is a North Adams-based nonprofit working to grow an entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Berkshire-Bennington region.

The winning company, United Aircraft Technologies Inc., is developing a clamp to be used on wiring harnesses in aircraft. They are made of plastic, unlike the metal clamps in use in all aircraft today. The new clamps are one-fifth the weight of the metal clamp, reducing an aircraft's weight by hundreds or thousands of pounds, depending on the size of the craft.

Evaguel Rhysing said the $25,000 grant will give them some further momentum. "It will help us on developing our business through the prototyping phase to get the part molded and on to testing," she said.

Filson noted that during the challenge, Untied Aircraft has been creating synergies with other local businesses.

This was the first entrepreneurial challenge funded by $450,000 in grant funding awarded to Lever in August, Filson said.

Next up is the Berkshire Health Technology Challenge, which will award another $25,000 grant in May.

There will be four more challenges — two per year for the next two years. Each year, one will be in advanced manufacturing and the other in health sciences, Filson said. The grant funding comes from a mix of state, private, and nonprofit sources from both inside and outside Berkshire County.

Organizations interested in sponsoring Lever's efforts or participating in a challenge can contact Filson at Lever at bfilson@lever.org.

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