Frequently Asked Questions


What is the EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator?

The EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator is an American Heart Association program that provides training and grants to empower and invest in social enterprise and digital health businesses focused on improving access to equitable health in the United States. The program has funded over $1.1 million in grants and trained almost 150 entrepreneurs.

What is the EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator - Maryland Black Farmers?

Presented by CareFirst, the EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator - Maryland Black Farmers identifies and supports Black farmers in Maryland to promote access to healthy foods and solve social issues impacting the communities we serve. The accelerator strives to train high-potential, aspiring community pioneers primed to bring their innovation to scale.

Who is eligible to apply?

You 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.

How do I apply?

  1. Review the eligibility and FAQ sections.
  2. If eligible, fill out the application form beginning Aug. 21.
  3. Be sure to click Save draft along the way to save any progress.
  4. Once all required fields are complete, click the Submit button. You will get an email confirmation that your application has been received.
  5. See the Application Review Schedule to follow our timing.
  6. We will notify you whether or not you’ve been accepted as one of the accelerator candidates by Oct. 30.

What will qualifying candidates receive?

  • Candidates will be trained in business and brand storytelling.
  • Finalists will tell their business story at an in-person event in Maryland for a chance at grant funding.

What’s the schedule?

  • 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

What happens post-accelerator?

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