We’ve got some good news and some bad news:
The bad news:
Two people living just 5 miles apart can have a life expectancy that differs by more than 20 years. It turns out, zip code can matter more than your genetic code. Imagine that!

The good news:
The opportunity to close that gap is incredibly close.

The American Heart Association is committed to making a difference in urban communities by finding innovative solutions to help close these health gaps. We’re looking for people like YOU to join us in making a positive and immediate impact on the health of our communities.

Are you ready to share your brilliant solutions? Our team of passionate experts is ready to help you put these ideas to work in communities that need them the most. We invite you to consider submitting your ideas, whether they are brand new or just need a little boost, to the EmPOWERED to Serve Urban Health AcceleratorTM.

Learn More About the EmPOWERED To Serve Urban Health Accelerator™

What is the EmPOWERED To Serve Urban Health AcceleratorTM?

This is a six to eight week intensive training designed to challenge you to apply innovative, community-based solutions to help solve an urgent urban health problem. If accepted, you will have access to a team of marketing, branding and tech leaders who are ready to join forces with you. Through their mentoring, training and coaching, you will move closer to qualifying to present your project at the annual American Heart Association’s EmPOWERED To Serve Summit in Baltimore, Maryland, on October 16th and potentially receive a $30,000 grant.

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What does it cost?

This program is provided at no cost to you other than your time, dedication and the belief that the impossible can be possible.

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Who should apply?

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

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What are the minimum requirements?


Most of our interactions will happen virtually, so you will need to have consistent access to the internet. Occasionally, we will host video conferences and we’d love to see your face, so having access to a video camera and headphones will ensure an optimal experience. Your existing desktop or laptop video camera should be fine.


Plan to devote at least eight to ten hours per week on your individual work and any virtual group activities. We’ll coordinate calendars to find the best time to meet once we have a group identified.

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How can I position my idea to receive the grant?


Step One – Look Around and Identify Problems.

Are there health-related problems you know you can solve that will directly transform communities?

Consider these examples of urban health-related problems that need solving:

  • Affordable Housing
  • Air Pollution
  • Childhood Obesity
  • Chronic Disease
  • Clean Water
  • Healthcare
  • Health Insurance
  • Hunger
  • Internet Access
  • Lack of Access to Healthy Food
  • Obesity
  • Public Health
  • Public Transportation
  • Safe Streets
  • Smoking

Step Two – Commit to building and implementing a plan.

Wherever you are in the process of implementing your idea, 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 and oriented.

Step Three – Apply to the EmPOWERED To Serve Urban Health Accelerator™.

We’re excited and anxious to ‘meet’ you and hear your ideas. Because this is a nationwide search for which we will receive a high number of applications, the process is designed to help you stand out and help us get to know you better. There are two tasks you’ll need to complete:

Submit a video:

Create a 60-90 second video where you’ll introduce yourself, your idea, and why you’re the one to lead. Follow these additional tips and guidelines to help you prepare.

Complete an online application:

You’ll have to answer general questions about yourself and your company (addresses, phone numbers, URLs, etc.) through a series of short answer questions. These questions will focus on your project/solution, the impact it will have on the community and how you will measure this impact.

The application form will be available on May 1st. So gather your information, make your video, and come back ready to apply.

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What is the schedule for the accelerator?

Because the process is intense, and we have to cover a lot of ground in a short period of time, we highly recommend that you review the following dates before you apply.

May 1st – June 30th: Applications are open.
August 1st – August 3rd: Qualified candidates are notified if they are invited to continue. (Everyone will receive notification, one way or the other.)
August 6th – August 17th: The first wave of candidates will participate in a two-week, self-paced eLearning course. The field of candidates will be narrowed down again. We’ll be paying close to attention to those who complete the course and the quality of their content.
August 20th – September 28th: Candidates will be invited to join the final list of teams who will participate in the accelerator.
At the end of the accelerator, up to ten finalists will be selected from all the participating teams to present at the Summit in Baltimore, Maryland. These teams will spend another two weeks preparing to present their ideas and stories in front of a panel of judges.
October 16th: Finalists will present their business solutions at the EmPOWERED To Serve Summit showcase night in Baltimore, Maryland, in the hopes of being awarded the $30,000 grant.

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What can you expect from us?

  • Our expertise: We will offer you six weeks training and coaching on topics ranging from digital marketing to customer discovery and from brand experience to brand story telling all provided by experts in the field.
  • Our network: We will not only connect you to other like-minded entrepreneurs, but also with vast network of business leaders in the areas of marketing, PR, and finance.
  • Our encouragement: We will offer our support to you throughout the process in the form of resources, people, and our belief in you.

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What do we expect from you?

  • Your time: The training period will be intense and time consuming. If you are serious about the process and the potential of being awarded the grant, you need to be prepared to set aside eight weeks of time to this project.
  • Your dedication: You will need to fully commit to this project and the process, which includes hitting each deliverable on a tight timeline.
  • Your determination: You have to believe you can achieve the impossible under tight conditions.

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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 you will not be asked to share information about your project with other teams. In the same manner, we will not share information about your project 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 Urban Health AcceleratorTM, candidates agree that The American Heart Association, EmPOWERED To ServeTM 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 candidate and the judges and/or audience members will not be required or allowed.

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Do you have questions about the accelerator?

We’re happy to answer any and all of your questions:

General Questions:
Michelle Raphael
Christa Chambers-Price

PR/Media Questions:
Marissa Alanis
Toiya Honore