Empowered to Serve Business Accelerator™: Maryland Black Farmers

a Black man and woman wearing aprons are standing in front of their produce stand at a farmers market

Many Black entrepreneurs and farmers center social justice in what they do. The EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator - Maryland Black Farmers is an effort to identify and support Black farmers in Maryland to create business solutions to social and economic challenges impacting the communities we serve and increase access to healthy foods. As a result, they have the potential to change behaviors, expand access to resources and improve the long-term health of all people in Maryland.

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Several factors contribute to disparities, including federal programs and policies that exclude Black people from land purchases and limited access to capital through discriminatory lending practices.


of Maryland farmers are Black


of total Maryland farm sales are from Black farmers

Woman doing a presentation

Selected candidates will:

  • Receive four to six weeks of training in business and brand storytelling.
  • Refine their business story and presentation in a cohort with other Maryland Black farmers.
  • Share their business story at an in-person event in Maryland for a chance at $72,000 in grant funding.

Who can apply?

Applicants must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen 18 years or older.
  • Be the founder, CEO or someone authorized to make changes to the business or project.
  • Be a Black farmer.
  • Have an office in the Maryland market and affect a community within that market.
  • Address one or more categories of the social determinants of health.
  • Have an innovation that improves health or social/economic inequities.
  • Be available during crucial accelerator dates.
  • Be a profit or nonprofit that focuses on digital health and social impact.




Application period: Aug. 21 – Oct. 2, 2023

Top candidates notified by: Oct. 30, 2023

Training: Nov. 8, 2023 – Jan. 16, 2024

Building Brand Story: Jan. 17 – Feb. 7, 2024

Finale: Feb. 7, 2024

The Empowered to Serve Business Accelerator is a national American Heart Association program that provides social entrepreneurs, startups and businesses focusing on health impact the tools and support to grow and scale. Through this opportunity, the Association provides business training, grants and a lasting connection to our organization.

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The Maryland Black Farmers EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator is presented by CareFirst.