Empowered to Serve Business Accelerator

Igniting impact by accelerating health equity focused founders.

The EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator is a fully remote training and grant opportunity focused on empowering health equity-focused founders.

Our mission is clear:

To champion the growth and scalability of health impact-focused founders, striving toward a shared vision: a future where everyone, everywhere, has equitable access to lead a healthy life.

To ensure equitable and inclusive access to resources and funding while nurturing a diverse health innovation ecosystem.

Information Session

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Learn what to expect throughout the application process and beyond.

Watch the recorded info session

Innovation knows no bounds, but health equity remains unsolved.

The health care disparities landscape is stark. An estimated $93 billion in excess U.S. medical care costs annually is attributed to these inequities — nearly nine times the total venture funding allocated to digital health startups in 2023. As providers, payers, employers and government entities increasingly prioritize digital solutions that focus on equity, innovators like you have a prime opportunity to address these gaps and make a tangible impact.

Drawing from a century of innovation, the American Heart Association’s Empowered to Serve Business Accelerator provides essential training, funding and recognition. These resources empower founders like you to take significant strides in amplifying, impacting and scaling solutions to address pressing health equity challenges. By participating, you gain access to influential networks and pivotal opportunities, ensuring your voice is heard in the rooms where it matters most.


in grant funding

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social entrepreneurs and organizations trained

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post-accelerator outside investments + 1 acquisition

Who should apply?

The business accelerator is for founders of nonprofits and Pre-seed, Seed and Series A startups. These ventures should be focused on driving change in health equity and social determinants of health with focus areas including health-tech and med-tech innovation, food insecurity, health care access, job security, housing, transportation, poverty, climate and more.

We will not accept applications from:

  • Physical training/trainers, gyms, and spa-related facilities
  • Health supplement-based businesses
  • Smoothie/juice businesses or food products
  • Health-focused consultants or private medical practices
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National Accelerator

The 2024 National application window was open May 1 through June 28. Accepted founders will vie for up to $75,000 in grant funding.


Your participation provides you with invaluable opportunities.


This nationwide, highly competitive experience provides you with the chance at non-equity funding.


The American Heart Association’s Center for Health Metrics evaluates your business model. The evaluation will create a baseline enabling you to make critical decisions, refine your strategies and maximize the effectiveness of the accelerator experience.


The experience includes a six-week training in which you will elevate your unique competitive advantage to deliver a compelling brand story that encourages interest from stakeholders and potential investors.

Innovate or Die Podcast

Listen to Pamela Garmon Johnson, National Vice President, Health Equity Impact and Partnerships describe how the Empowered to Serve Business Accelerator transforms communities on the Innovate or Die podcast. The business accelerator has helped over 150 businesses and granted over $1M.
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Get ready to apply.

Explore the Empowered Innovation Academy, our complimentary online learning platform.

Support the Accelerator

Join us in helping make health equity a reality. We invite you to support our innovative founders by providing access to capital, mentorship, and resource networks.

Alumni Achievements and Impact

Founders have leveraged the training and grant program to make a substantial health impact in their local and national communities. Our Alumni
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2023 AHA Impact With Heart Award recipient; Received $3M in grants for the nation’s first dirt bike campus in Baltimore and expansion of stem programs

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$2.5M raised; AHA Social Impact Fund candidate; Hawaii Entrepreneur Awards 2023: Tech Entrepreneur of the Year (Hawaii Business Magazine); 2023 Prime Health Innovation Challenge in California finalist

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In $2.17 Million funding round; 2023 Prime Health Innovation Challenge in California finalist
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Kwamane Liddell

(Formerly Nutrible) AARP Pitch competition winner; AWS Health Equity Accelerator; 2024 American Nurses Association Innovation Award winner; UCSF Adapt Program finalist; 2023 Prime Health Innovation Challenge in California finalist

What founders are saying about the accelerator 

Working on developing my moonshot statement was the hardest part and the best part of the experience.

This program allowed me to accelerate my business in ways I couldn't have imagined. The connections and programming I received played a pivotal role in bringing it to the next phase.

As an early-stage entrepreneur, building my brand story was crucial to understanding my business and goals for the future.