DALLAS, January 28, 2021 — The American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary health organization devoted to a world of longer, healthier lives, is helping social entrepreneurs and innovators thrive amid the COVID-19 pandemic. On Tuesday, January 26, 2020, American Heart Association awarded more than $60,000 to the top finalists in the National EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator™. The finale celebration was held virtually, where the seven innovative finalists presented their business models and concepts designed to drive health equity, sustainability, and community transformation. The top finalist was Abigail Kohler, co-founder of ResusciTech who was awarded a $40,000 grant to empower people to save lives by taking action during medical emergencies. ResusciTech’s app, SMART Certification, provides people with convenient, smartphone-based training that provides Hands-Only CPR compression practice with real-time feedback. The runner up, receiving a $15,000 grant, was Prathamesh Prabhudesai, co-founder of SafeBVM. SafeBVM focuses on preventing human errors/provider-associated complications of manual ventilation that worsen patient outcomes and increase health care costs. Its device helps providers deliver safe and optimal manual ventilation to people in cardiac arrest and respiratory distress. With more than 3,000 votes, Prathamesh Prabhudesai was also the fan favorite and was recognized with a $5,000 grant.

The Virtual EmPOWERED to Serve™ Business Accelerator™ Finale was hosted by Sharon Epperson, CNBC Senior Personal Finance Correspondent and judged by a panel of expert judges in the business, entrepreneurial and health sectors including Shelly Bell, founder and chief executive offer of Black Girl Ventures Foundation, Bryan Holloway, principal consultant with Slalom Consulting Firm, and Mathew Knowles, chief executive officer and founder of Music World Entertainment Corporation, and record executive perhaps best known for developing the careers of his daughters Beyoncé and Solange Knowles.

There was also a special tribute to the late John Houston, a long-time American Heart Association advocate and donor. Mr. Houston believed in health justice and as a final gift, funded a grant for the EmPOWERED to Serve™ Business Accelerator™. There was also a surprise celebrity guest appearance by Daymond John, CEO of FUBU and an investor on the ABC reality television series Shark Tank, who saluted the health justice work of American Heart Association and the hard work of each of the finalists.

EmPOWERED to Serve™ is an initiative that accelerates change in education, business, and communities in order to help overcome structural racism and achieve health justice. This is the fourth year of the National EmPOWERED to Serve™ Business Accelerator™. Since inception of the Business Accelerator program in 2018, American Heart Association has contributed more than $510,000 to help accelerate start-ups, social entrepreneurs and organizations improving social determinants of health in their community, which are health risk factors, especially for underserved populations. 

The virtual EmPOWERED to Serve™ Business Accelerator™Finale can be viewed at EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator Finale - YouTube.


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.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.   

For Media Inquiries:

American Heart Assocation: Natashia Johnson, 214-706-1463, natashia.johnson@heart.org

Tiffaney D. Hunter, thunter@tiffaneydale.com, 214-775-0807 ext. 700

Kayla Tucker Adams, kadams@tiffaneydale.com, 214-775-0807 ext. 702

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

heart.org and stroke.org