DALLAS, May 09, 2024 — A recent study revealed that, in the United States, local Black and Latino entrepreneurs receive just 2.6% of all venture capital investment.[1]  To help bridge that gap and while addressing health inequities in these local communities, the American Heart Association, celebrating 100 years of lifesaving service, is offering financial grants and expert business consulting to local social health impact entrepreneurs who are focused on achieving health equity. As the Association commemorates one hundred years of lifesaving service as the world’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering longer, healthier lives for all, it is issuing its latest call for formal submissions to its EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator™.

The Accelerator program was established to ignite and accelerate impactful change at the zip code level by supporting local communities, social and health tech innovation founders, and start-up organizations working specifically to close the health equity gap. The Accelerator is once again searching for a diverse pool of social and digital health tech founders of non-profits and start-up for-profit entities that are making material health impact and addressing one or more of the social drivers of health – the social and economic conditions into which people are born, live, learn, work and play.

Selected founders undergo a rigorous six-week business coaching and training experience focusing on a spectrum of essential skills -- from exploring the use of neuro- and data science to crafting compelling brand storytelling narratives. The cohort of founders will present their final brand story “pitches” during a virtual finale on October 9, 2024. Winners determined by a panel of expert judges will receive one of three non-equity grants totaling $75,000 and entry to Scientific Sessions in Chicago in November. Scientific Sessions is the premier global event for advancements in cardiovascular science and medicine.

“For eight years, the American Heart Association Business Accelerator has been an incredible resource for local entrepreneurs and organizations addressing the social drivers of health in some of the most under-resourced areas of the country,” said Marsha Jones, chairperson and chief volunteer officer of the American Heart Association. “Through the valuable mentorship, support, and for many, funding, that we provide, these local founders and changemakers can take the next steps to improve the health and wellness of their communities in new and innovative ways.”

To date, the EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator has provided training and mentorship to 166 founders addressing a range of health disparities and provided more than $1.33 million in grant funding. Many have successfully completed Seed and Series A funding rounds, validating the program’s effectiveness in nurturing entrepreneurial talent. 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.

Applications will be accepted May 1 through June 28, 2024. Details regarding qualifications and rules for applying can be found here.

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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 a century. During 2024 - our Centennial year - we celebrate our rich 100-year history and accomplishments. As we forge ahead into our second century of bold discovery and impact our vision is to advance health and hope for everyone, everywhere. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookX or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.    

For Media Inquiries:

Jennifer Braxton, 214-706-1173 or Jennifer.Braxton@heart.org

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)
heart.org and stroke.org