EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator™ – Oregon and SW Washington

Seeking sustainable business solutions that overcome social determinants of health.

women shaking hands

EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator™ – Oregon and SW Washington

The American Heart Association’s EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator empowers and invests in women entrepreneurs, startups and businesses that foster equitable access to good health for all. The national program provides participants tools and support to grow and scale, including business training, grants and a lasting connection to the association.

APPLY JUNE 1 THROUGH JULY 16 for your chance to receive up to $75,000 in grant funding! 

If you need assistance with the application process, please email Hannah.Frey@heart.org.

younger woman handing out food

What is the EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator – Oregon and SW Washington?

The EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator – Oregon and SW Washington will support local women entrepreneurs, often an underfunded group, who are creating sustainable business solutions that overcome social determinants of health.

The environmental and social factors in which people are born, grow, live, work and age include lack of access to healthy food, quality education and health care, employment, and housing.

Who can apply? 

Applicants must be:

  • Women entrepreneurs or innovators
  • Age 18 or older
  • Living in and/or serving communities in Oregon and Southwest Washington (Clark, Cowlitz, Wahkiakum and Skamania counties)

All applicants can receive business training from the YWCA Small Business Development Center.


  • June 1-July 16 Applications accepted

  • Aug. 6 Finalists confirmed

  • Aug. 11-Sept. 8 Training conducted

  • Sept. 30 Business storytelling presentation by finalists and grant recipients announced

  • Oct. 13 Grant recipients featured at the Portland Go Red for Women®

  • Oct. 21 First place Oregon and Southwest SW Washington candidate presents at the National Business Accelerator

What do selected candidates finalists receive ?

  • Four-week, MBA-style business training leading up to the Business Accelerator storytelling finale.

  • Finalists will present their business concepts to a panel of local community innovators, entrepreneurs, health experts and business leaders in September.

  • The first-place winner will receive a $75,000 grant; second $30,000; and the fan favorite voted on by the public $15,000.

  • The first place grant recipient will advance to the National Business Accelerator for a chance to receive additional funding, continue to refine their business story and expand their network of support.

  • The Business Accelerator program and first-place winner will be featured at the Portland Go Red for Women® event on Oct. 13.

Brandi Prichet Johnson

Whats the difference between a pitch competition and a business storytelling event ?

To make a pitch, you have to get in the room first. A strong business story gets you into the room so that you can do the big pitch. That’s what the EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator provides for new to seasoned entrepreneurs.  

The business story builds the connections and trust to get to the pitch (“Why should I trust you?”). It focuses on the mission and impact and why you’re the person to lead.

Why Oregon and Southwest Washington?

We’re one of the most outdoorsy and active areas in the country. Yet, it doesn’t correlate to our health outcomes. 

A person’s ability to live healthy and access quality, affordable health care is limited by socioeconomic factors such as structural racism and disparities in social determinants of health such as healthy food, quality education, income, mobility and housing.   

Differences in life expectancy vary starkly from one neighborhood to another. But we’re well-poised to unite and empower local women entrepreneurs who are addressing these issues. Through the EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator, we’ll team with local innovators to change the trajectory of health and well-being in Oregon and Southwest Washington — and beyond.

Portland Oregon Sign
Who provides the grant funding?

The Marie Lamfrom Charitable Foundation generously funded a grant for EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator – Oregon and Southwest Washington. 
“The Marie Lamfrom Charitable Foundation is thrilled to support the American Heart Association’s EmPOWERED Business Accelerator,” said Sally Bany, foundation co-founder. “This program will empower female entrepreneurs and ultimately allow innovative ideas into under-resourced communities. We are excited to empower women in presenting, developing and proposing their health and wellness business plans during this competition.”

Established by Dave and Sally Bany in 1998, the foundation supports nonprofit organizations throughout the Pacific Northwest, focusing on programs that support education, mentorship, arts and creativity, and health and well-being. Sally named the foundation to honor her grandmother.

For more information, please visit marielamfrom.org.