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 women in Minnesota by training high-potential, aspiring community innovators primed to bring their innovation to scale.

What is the Hawai'i-based accelerator?

Partnering with the Kamehameha Schools, the Hawaii-based accelerator supports local entrepreneurs with sustainable business solutions that overcome barriers to health on the islands.

What is the Bay Area accelerator?

The Bay Area Empowered to Serve Business Accelerator is presented by Shifamed in supporting social entrepreneurs and organizations by funding local solutions to address the social influencers of health. Together we strive to change heart and brain health for the Bay Area community by training high-potential, aspiring community innovators primed to bring their innovation to scale.

What is the Mid-South Accelerator ?

The Mid-South business accelerator is supported by John and Leslie Daniel and First Horizon Foundation with a focus on solving inequities in areas such as income, education, mobility and housing in the in the Memphis area. 

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 markets of Minnesota, Hawaii, Memphis and the Bay Area: 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 or Hawaii, you will be able to apply beginning March 1. Those living in Memphis, the Bay Area or anywhere else in the United States, you will be able to apply May 2.

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.
  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?

  • 6-week MBA-style business training
  • Market participants (Minnesota, Hawaii, Memphis and the Bay Area) 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 in October for a chance at grant funding.

What is the schedule?

(Hawaii and Minnesota)

  • Application period: March 1-April 1
    Deadline extended to April 8
  • Top candidates notified by: April 25
  • Training: April 26-June 7
  • Local finale events:
    • Minnesota: June 21, 2022 – 4-6 p.m. CDT
    • Hawaii: June 30, 2022 – 5 p.m. HST/10 p.m. CDT

(Memphis, the Bay Area and National)

  • Application period open: May 2-June 3
    Deadline extended to June 19
  • Review period: June 20-July 10
  • Top candidates notified by: July 11
  • Training: July 12-August 21
  • Local finale events: TBA
  • National finale: October 20

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.