Frequently Asked Questions

What is the EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator?

The EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator is a training and grant opportunity that empowers and invests in social enterprise and digital health businesses focused on improving access to equitable health in the United States. If selected as an accelerator candidate, you'll join an exceptional nationwide network of digital health equity and social impact innovators who are launching big ideas to solve significant health equity problems in our communities.

In six weeks, you will test, validate and activate innovation in real-time with the support of a team of mentors whose experience spans and includes:

  • finance and fundraising
  • branding and marketing
  • behavioral psychology
  • customer experience design

You will also have access to the American Heart Association's vast research department and have the opportunity to present your final vision in front of industry influencers including investors, foundations and national media personalities.

What is the Minnesota-based accelerator?

Presented by Cheerios, the Minnesota-based accelerator supports social entrepreneurs and organizations by funding local solutions to address health disparities. The accelerator strives to change heart and brain health for Minnesotans by training high-potential, aspiring community innovators primed to bring their innovation to scale.

Who is eligible to apply?

  • Pre-seed through Series A
  • U.S. citizens 18 years or older
  • Must be the founder, CEO or someone authorized to make changes to the business or project.
  • For the local market of Minnesota: must have an office in the market and must affect a community within that market
  • Must address one or more categories of the social determinants of health
  • Innovation must apply to improving health inequities
  • Should not be a diagnostic solution or pharma/life sciences innovation
  • Must be available during crucial accelerator dates
  • Companies eligible: profit and nonprofit with a focus on digital health and social impact
  • Companies not eligible: food-related companies including smoothies, shakes, and other prepared food items that do not fall under the AHA guidelines

How do I apply?

If you live in Minnesota, you will be able to apply beginning March 1.

You can apply to a local accelerator and the national accelerator.

  1. Review the eligibility and FAQs section to see if you’re eligible to apply.
  2. If eligible, create an account on the application portal (coming soon).
  3. Enter your email address and password.
  4. Once logged in, click + New Application to start and complete your Business Accelerator application.
  5. Be sure to click Save draft along the way to save any progress.
  6. Once all required fields are complete, click the blue Submit button. You will receive confirmation that your application has been received.
  7. See the Application Review Schedule to follow our timing.
  8. We will notify you whether or not you’ve been accepted into one of the 2022 accelerators.

What will qualifying candidates receive?

  • Business training.
  • Market participants will participate in a local market event for a chance at grant funding. First-place grant recipients from each market will be invited to the national accelerator for a chance at additional funding.
  • National candidates will present their business stories virtually on October 19 for a chance at up to $75,000 in grant funding.

What is the schedule?


  • Application period: March 1 – April 14
  • Top candidates notified by: May 9
  • Training: May 10 – June 16
  • Finale: June 27, 4:00 p.m. (CDT)


  • Application period: May 1 – June 26
  • Top candidates notified by: July 25
  • Training: July 26 – September 6
  • Finale: Thursday, October 19

What happens post-accelerator?

Upon completing the accelerator experience, you will become an American Heart Association Business Accelerator Alumnae and automatically added to our growing nationwide innovators’ network. There you’ll be part of the EmPOWERED to Serve’s Speaker Pool for national conferences and media events, alerted to industry-specific opportunities and the first to know of ongoing training and support.