AHA heart and torch logoEmPOWERED To Serve

Business Accelerator

Innovating and investing in organizations improving the health of communities

Photo of three multiethnic empowered business women


The application period is now closed. All applicants will be notified by August 3, 2019.

The EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator discovers, accelerates and invests in innovative solutions to improve the health of our communities. We are looking for YOU, the best and brightest, working within the community to positively affect health outcomes.
  • Is there a problem in your community that has an attainable, sustainable solution?
  • Does your organization have an innovative solution?

Idea mode ⟶ Start-Ups ⟶ Established Organization = All Welcome to Apply!

If you qualify as a finalist, you will be taken through an 8- week training to help build and/or refine your business plan, activate your team and implement your innovative solution.

The top performing teams will be invited to present their business story to a panel of judges from the marketing, media and investment communities at the Empowered to Serve Business Accelerator™ finale.

Learn More About the EmPOWERED To Serve Business Accelerator

What is the EmPOWERED To Serve Business Accelerator

It is an 8-week intensive training designed to challenge you to apply innovative, community-based solutions to help bridge the health equity gap in your community. If you qualify, 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 EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator finale.

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What does it cost to apply?

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.

*For those that are established businesses/organizations, you will need to pick one focus/project that you are already running or one that you would like to jump start for this application

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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 to 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 gaps in health equity that need solutions:

  • 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.

Step Three – Apply

If there is a program in your area, it will be listed on this website and you can apply. If not, talk to your local American Heart Association affiliate about getting a program started. We are always excited and anxious to meet those with new and innovative ideas. 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.

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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 1 – July 10 Applications are open.
July 31 – August 2 Qualified candidates are notified if they are invited to continue. (Everyone will receive notification, one way or the other.)
August 7 – September 27 Accelerator training begins.
October 17 EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator Finale

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What can you expect from us?

  • Our expertise: We will offer you an 8-week training and coaching on topics ranging from digital marketing to customer discovery and from brand experience to brand storytelling all provided by experts in the field.
  • Our network: We will not only connect you to other like-minded entrepreneurs, but also with a 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 dedicate eight weeks of your 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 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 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:
Susan Young