SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, March 11, 2020 — Almost 45% of the Puerto Rican population lives below the U.S. poverty line,[1] meaning they’re at higher risk for cardiovascular disease because they lack the most basic needs – healthy food, clean air and drinking water, quality education and housing[2] [3]. That’s why the American Heart Association, the leading voluntary health organization devoted to a world of longer, healthier lives, is funding innovative solutions benefitting Puerto Rican residents through the EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator™.

The Business Accelerator is a grant-based opportunity for Puerto Rican entrepreneurs, living on and off the island, to receive funding to activate critical projects that will positively affect the long-term health and well-being of under-resourced communities on the island.  

“Puerto Rico is experiencing an exodus of skilled workers who are leaving the island in search of opportunities,” said Dr. Jacquelina Rodríguez Mont, Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Community Socio-Economic Institute and member of the judge panel for the EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator. “Now more than ever, we must support innovative concepts that directly impact the health of our communities. Having this EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator symbolizes the resilience and hope for Puerto Rico and that we are moving forward.”

Through a rigorous four-week, online MBA-style training funded by the American Heart Association, select entrepreneurs gain real-life knowledge in market positioning, brand development, fundraising and other functions to enhance their business models and demonstrate the viability of their projects. ​

The application period is March 2 to April 2. Candidates will be selected to participate in the training May 4 through June 12 and will present their solutions June 16 at the University of Sacred Heart, San Juan, Puerto Rico, for a chance to receive up to $15,000 in grant funding. The top candidate will automatically move on to present at the National EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator in October 2020.

To learn more and apply for the EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator in Puerto Rico, visit


About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.   

For Media Inquiries:

Jennifer Villamil 704-417-5771;

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)


[1]  American Fact Finder, based on the 2010 US Census and its subsequent surveys until 2017:

[2] United Way ALICE: The Consequences of Insufficient Income 2017 Report