Learn More about the Business Accelerator

What is the EmPOWERED To Serve Business Accelerator™

The accelerator works with social entrepreneurs and organizations making a health impact through improving the social determinants of health of communities. These areas of focus include access to care, education, transportation, food access and any of the other factors leading to health equity for all. Finalist receive MBA style businesses training, are invited to present their business story in front of influential judges at a the EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator™ finale, and a chance at grant funding.

What does it cost to apply?

This program is provided at no cost.

Who should apply?

The 2019 application period is closed. We look forward to hearing from you in 2020.

  • Entrepreneurs
  • Social Entrepreneurs
  • Tech Entrepreneurs
  • Non-Profits*
  • Community organizations
  • Startups in ideation mode or that have been in business for 5 years or less*
  • Applicants and businesses must be in the United States.

*Established businesses/organizations pick one focus/project that are currently in place or one that would be started for this application.

What are the minimum requirements?

  • Internet Consistent access to the internet is key as most interactions happen virtually.
  • Access to a video camera and headphones are also required for video conferences.


Eight to ten hours per week dedicated for individual work and any virtual group activities.

How can I position my idea to receive the grant?

The 2019 application period is closed.

We look forward to hearing your business solution in 2020.

Here’s how to get ready:

Step One – Look Around and Identify Problems. Are there health-related problems you know you can solve or your business is already solving? Consider these examples of gaps in health equity that need solutions:

  • Affordable Housing
  • Air Pollution
  • Childhood Obesity
  • Chronic Disease
  • Clean Water
  • Healthcare
  • Health Insurance
  • Hunger
  • Internet Access
  • Access to Healthy Food
  • Obesity
  • Transportation
  • Safety
  • Smoking

Step Two

Commit to building and implementing a plan. Wherever you are in the process of implementing your idea or business, our team will work with you to build a solid plan. During the accelerator you will be expected to start implementing your idea within the community in small or large ways. The point here is that this accelerator is action and results focused.

Step Three

Apply The process is designed to help you stand out and help us get to know you better. You’ll have to answer general questions about yourself and your company. These questions will focus on your project/solution, the impact it will have on the community, and how you will measure this impact.

What is the schedule for the accelerator?

The 2019 application process is closed. Here’s a general schedule of events. - Application open - Finalists notified (Everyone will receive notification, one way or the other.) - Eight week accelerator training - EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator™ Finale

What can you expect from us?

Our expertise: Finalists receive an 8-week training course to refine their business model. Topics including digital marketing, customer discovery, increasing health impact, brand experience and brand storytelling.

Our network: We connect finalists to other like-minded entrepreneurs, a vast network of health and business leaders, as well as the American Heart Association’s national and local network and PR/Communications opportunities. Back to top

What do we expect from finalists?

Time and dedication: The training period is intense and time-consuming but also invaluable. There are numerous deliverables and a tight timeline leading up to the finale event. We ask that finalists take this opportunity to push themselves and their companies to the next level. Back to top

What can you tell me about confidentiality and intellectual property? Confidentiality is not guaranteed in any way. However, the process is set up in such a way that during the training finalists will not be asked to share information about their project with other teams. In the same manner, we will not share information about their projects with other teams during training. If a team wishes to keep elements of their concept or idea confidential, the team should not include that information when it presents during the Summit. There is no way for The American Heart Association or its organizers to enforce a prohibition of other candidates, audience members or judges who see or hear a pitch from sharing the concept, idea and/or materials with others. By participating in the EmPOWERED To Serve Business Accelerator™ candidates agree that The American Heart Association, EmPOWERED to Serve™ and all related parties assume no liability, and shall have no liability or obligation whatsoever for disclosures of information provided by a candidate as part of a submission or otherwise during the course of the accelerator or Summit. Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) between a finalist and the judges and/or audience members will not be required or allowed.

Do you have additional questions about the accelerator?

Contact info:

General Questions: Michelle Raphael, Christa Chambers-Price

PR/Media Questions: Susan Young

Impact and Need

"I would have to say my experience was simply great and impactful. I enjoyed every step of the process from intake to learning about the importance and skillset of storytelling. Along with being nominated as a candidate and meeting some amazing people from around the country that are all doing awesome things in their communities, along with receiving the third-place grant and being able to use those funds to help my organization move forward."

2017 Urban Business Storytelling Competition Grantee Cecil Wilson, Goffers Inc