EmPOWERED to Serve™ Business Accelerator:

Empowers and invests in social entrepreneurs and businesses that foster equitable access to good health throughout the Greater Memphis community.

Memphis Bridge

About the Mid-South Accelerator

The goal of the Mid-South-focused Business Accelerator is to create business solutions to meet challenges our community faces by changing behaviors, expanding access to resources and improving the long-term health of the Mid-South region: West Tennessee including Greater Memphis/Shelby County, North Mississippi, and rural Eastern Arkansas.

Congratulations to the
2022 Mid-South Business Accelerator Candidates

2022 AHA Mid-South Business Accelerator Candidate: Austin Avery III

Austin Avery III
The Original Project Team Foundation, Inc.

2022 AHA Mid-South Business Accelerator Candidate: Nita Black

Nita Black
OZB Consulting, Inc.

2022 AHA Mid-South Business Accelerator Candidate: Dr. Sarah Jane Rhoads

Dr. Sarah Jane Rhoads
University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Nursing

2022 AHA Mid-South Business Accelerator Candidate: Nikki Wallace

Nikki Wallace
Sisters Innovating Science, Inc.

2022 AHA Mid-South Business Accelerator Candidate: Nick Wiggins

Nick Wiggins
Wolf River Conservancy

The EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator is a national American Heart Association program that gives social entrepreneurs, startups and businesses focusing on health impact the tools and support to grow and scale.

Through this opportunity, the AHA provides business training, access to grants and a lasting connection to the association.

I Am A Man wall mural created by Marcellous Lovelace with BLK75

Selected candidates will:

  • Receive six weeks of MBA-style training.
  • Refine their business story and presentation in a cohort with other local entrepreneurs.
  • Present their businesses in a fall event to Memphis-area health, community and business leaders for a chance at grants of $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000. Event participants will vote on a fan favorite who will receive a $5,000 grant. All applicants accepted into the program will receive $2,500.

Who can apply?

Applicants must be:

  • Entrepreneurs or innovators Age 18 years or older
  • Must be the founder, CEO or someone authorized to make changes to the business or project.
  • Living in and/or serving communities in the Shelby County or Greater Memphis area (including West Tennessee, North Mississippi and rural Eastern Arkansas)
  • Download a sample application (PDF)
  • Terms and Conditions


  • Application cycle: May 2-June 19
  • Review period: June 20-July 10
  • Top candidates notified by: July 11
  • Training: July 12-August 21
  • Local finale event: September 22
  • National finale: October 20

Please email us with questions.

Happy School Children

Why Memphis

As one of the most diverse communities in Tennessee, the Mid-South enjoys the food, music and stories of many different cultures. However, inequities in areas such as income, education, mobility and housing that existed before the COVID-19 pandemic, have only been exacerbated.

Memphis has a poverty rate of nearly 28%, which results in limited access to healthy food and quality health care.

But there’s reason to hope. 

Supported by

John and Leslie Daniel and First Horizon Foundation.

Supported by