DALLAS, May 4, 2023 — A recent study revealed that, in the United States, Black and Latinx entrepreneurs receive only 2.6% of venture capital investment. [1]  The American Heart Association®, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on longer, healthier lives for all, has opened the application window for submissions to the EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator™. The Accelerator program has been established to support local communities, small businesses, social entrepreneurs and innovators who are working to increase health equity and create groundbreaking social change at the zip code level.

Now in its seventh year, the Business Accelerator is designed to provide entrepreneurs whose innovative ideas address health disparities in under-resourced communities with the training and mentorship to build sustainable programs and the opportunity to have their program selected to receive financial grants provided by the American Heart Association. Grants are a crucial part of this support as organizers of community health efforts struggle with fewer resources to address the increased demand for services.

“For years, the American Heart Association Business Accelerator has been an incredible resource for entrepreneurs and organizations addressing the social determinants of health in some of the most under-resourced areas of the country,” said Raymond Vara, volunteer chairman of the board of the American Heart Association and president and CEO of Hawai`i Pacific Health in Honolulu, Hawai`i. “Through the valuable mentorship, support, and for many, funding, that we provide, these local changes makers are able to take the next steps to improve the health and wellness of their communities in new and innovative ways.”

Upon selection, candidates will begin six weeks of intensive, online business training before presenting their proposed business solutions to a panel of expert judges at the EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator finale on Zoom, scheduled for October 19, 2023. At that time, select candidates will have the opportunity to receive one of the three financial grants available to operationalize their programs in their communities.

The Accelerator’s core curriculum offers formal instruction on design thinking, customer discovery, market positioning, brand development, fundraising and other essential business functions to help entrepreneurs enhance their business models and demonstrate the viability of projects.

The organization is looking for a diverse pool of social and digital health tech entrepreneurs, non-profits and for-profits making a health impact and addressing one or more Social Determinants of Health – the social and economic conditions into which people are born, live, learn, work and play.

Since its inception, the Business Accelerator has trained more than 100 social entrepreneurs and organizations and provided more than $1 million in financial grants. Business Accelerator alumni continue to support the lifesaving work of the American Heart Association by participating in local volunteer boards and serving as brand ambassadors at special events in their communities.

Entrepreneurs may learn more about the Business Accelerator qualifications and rules to apply here. The submission deadline for participation is June 26, 2023.

Spanish news release


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 heart.orgFacebookTwitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.   

For Media Inquiries:

Joseph Marks, National Communications Manager, Joseph.Marks@heart.org or 210.810.3093

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

heart.org and stroke.org