Up to $125k is available for funding innovation created to make difference.

The Urban Health Accelerator (UHA) works on the frontlines of delivering bold innovation that improves the health of urban centers by transforming ideas into action—action into impact. The Urban Health Accelerator, the first of its kind, is determined to build healthier urban centers, city-by-city, block-by-block.

Our purpose: To make the urban centers healthy

Our mission: Activate 1,000 new urban businesses in 2018 [SDOH: Employment/Working Conditions]

Focused on empowering entrepreneurs in urban centers, The 2018 Urban Health Accelerator will deliver training, mentorship, networking and funding for early-stage start-ups that pioneer transformative business models that makes urban centers healthy, profitable, and at scale. 

Rules & Guidelines

  1. Your business model must address one of the Social Determinants of Health: The conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels.
  2. Choose one to two American Heart Association (AHA) selected urban cities where your business model will be implemented. Your company will be matched with an AHA chapter and local community leaders to help activate your business models and track progress. You can submit an urban city that is not on the list.
  3. Share in detail how your team will use the top prize of $30,000 to implement your business model and how you plan to measure success.
  4. If your company is one of the top ten teams chosen, you will be required to complete 3-4 hours of business storytelling training to help prepare and refine a 5-minute business story that will be presented at the EmPOWERED To Serve Summit at the Kellogg Conference Hotel in Washington, D.C. on October 17th in the early evening.
  5. Teams will be allowed up to two representatives to attend the Summit. The American Heart Association will provide one hotel room for each team as well as dinner at the gala on the 17th. You will be required to present a credit or debit card at the hotel to cover incidentals. All invited teams must be in Washington, DC by 12pmEST and are responsible for their own transportation to and around Washington, D.C., and to the Kellogg Conference Hotel.
  6. Exhibit space. Each of the ten teams will have the opportunity to display their concept during the day at the EmPOWERED To Serve Summit Expo. A 6ft skirted table will be provided. You'll be asked to submit your plans for your display by October 1st.
  7. The top three teams will split $60,000 in cash prizes. The winners will receive 50% of their prize the night of the event and the remainder will be released 60 days after verification that the agreed upon goals have been implemented. 


Winning concepts will receive guidance, financial support, and in-kind contributions in order to move the venture forward.

There will be $60,000 in cash prizes distributed to the top three teams to enable them to move forward with their concept. The cash prizes listed below are for the entire team, not for individual team members.  Prizes will be allocated as follows:

  • First Place: $30,000
  • Second Place: $20,000
  • Third Place: $10,000


  • Deadline to receive application: September 5th
  • The Top 10 candidates are announced: September 12th
  • Training and Prep: September 13th - October 7th
  • Entre-SLAM: October 17th
Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center at Gallaudet University  800 Florida Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002

Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center at Gallaudet University
800 Florida Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002

Confidentiality & Intellectual Property

Confidentiality is not guaranteed in any way. If a team wishes to keep elements of their concept or idea confidential, the team should not include that information in their pitch. There is no way for The American Heart Association or its organizers to enforce a prohibition of other competitors, 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 Competition, candidates agree that The American Heart Association, Entre-SLAM and all related parties assume no liability, and shall have no liability or obligation whatsoever for disclosures of information provided by a competitor as part of a submission or otherwise during the course of the competition.

Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) between a competitor and the judges and/or audience members will not be required or allowed.


We're happy to answer any and all of your questions:

Program Lead:
Christa Chambers-Price

Give us a ring at: 
1-833-URSTORY (833-877-8679)


What is the EmPOWERED To Serve Competition?
EmPOWERED To Serve is hosting with Entre-SLAM, a nationwide business storytelling competition to discover and launch innovative business concepts that improve urban neighborhoods in the areas of social determinants of health. The business model should be ready to implement in one of the selected AHA cities (listed on website) or one that the contestant designates.

Who qualifies to enter the contest?
Anyone with a business concept that can help improve the state of health in the United States. It can be an individual, a start-up, established company or non-profit. Contestants will submit their business idea and how they will use the prize money to implement the idea and track their progress.

Deadline for application submission:
September 5th, 11:59pmEST

Do we have to pay to enter?

What happens after they enter the contest?
Submissions will be accepted until September 5th at 11:50pmEST. The top 10 candidates will be chosen by a panel of judges and announced on September 5th. Those remaining candidates will receive training (3-4 hrs.) and prep for the live competition from September 6th - September 28th. The live contest will take place on October 17 th where the candidates will present their 5 minute business story.

Where is the live competition?
The live competition will take place during the annual EmPOWERED To Serve Summit gala awards ceremony at the Kellogg Conference Center at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. The top 10 teams will be allowed up to 2 representatives to present their 5 minute business story. The top 3 winners will be chosen by a panel of judges.

What will the top 3 winners receive?

  • 1st place: $30,000
  • 2nd place: $20,000
  • 3rd pace: $10,000

Who is presenting the contest?
The American Heart Association’s EmPOWERED To Serve and hosted by Entre-SLAM.

How do I sign up?
Access the form HERE.

How can I help make sure I'm one the top candidates?

Keep. It. Real. Innovation and ideas are great but just like stacks of wood, it takes an entrepreneur to light the match and get that stack of wood burning. Revealing the stories and the geniuses behind the ideas will help you stand out. If you just like to jump from one pitch competition to another, this may not be the right fit for you because first of all, pitching your business model will earn you an automatic ZERO. This is a business storytelling competition. We're expecting you to present something deeper than just a business model. This experience is personal for us and we hope that your willingness to the partner with these communities, is personal for you too.

Okay great. How ELSE can you ensure that you're one of the top teams that wins?

  • Spread the word of your candidacy. (Here are some graphics to help you out.)
  • Let your biggest fans know that you're in the running and invite them to support your candidacy on your social media channels.  
  • When you register, consider posting a link to a short video. (Hey, keep it low tech. Have fun with it.)

What You Need To Know:

  • You can enter as an individual or as a team.
  • You can be in ideation mode, a startup currently grinding it out or a company that's been around the block and has learned a few things along the way.
  • You can enter your non-profit organization.
  • There are no restrictions on the amount of revenue you have earned.

What We're Looking For:

  • A clear sense of your understanding of the issues facing the communities you wish to have your ideas implemented. 
  • Authenticity, passion and clarity of scope (ie., if you come off like a robot, we're more likely to keep it stepping.)
  • Why your concept will work and why is this work important to you. 

If You Are Chosen as a Finalist:

Here's where things get awesome.

You will receive 3-4 hours of business storytelling coaching and training to help you build a powerful, tear-jerking, revolution starting, 5-minute story. This is a requirement. Entrepreneurs are wired to pitch and this experience, my friend, is a business storytelling competition, where we keep it real. 

FYI: Pitching focuses on what you do. Storytelling focuses on who you are.

We'll roll out the red carpet for you, feed you at the gala dinner and set you up with a room at the lovely Kellogg Conference Hotel at Gallaudet University. You are responsible for creatively organizing your travel to Washington, D.C. (trains, planes, scooters, automobiles, carpool karaoke, rock somebody's travel miles, etc.)

The competition will be live streamed on the Entre-SLAM Facebook page and electronic voting will be open nationwide. 

Regarding the Prize Money

50% of the prize money will be awarded the night of the competition. Use it to jumpstart the project. Make every dollar count. 

After 60-days, and you can show how your project is having a direct impact on the communities you've chosen, the remaining 50% will be released so that you can keep the trains moving.

What is Entre-SLAM?

Entre-SLAM delivers business storytelling events and training. Since 2012, we've been leading events that are the opposite of 'pitch competitions'. 'Pitching' focuses on what you do and how. Storytelling focuses on the business purpose and who you are. We've worked with over 1,000 startups and companies over the years that are seeking something different in their entrepreneurial experience. Check out a couple of videos from past events.

Registration is now closed. Check this space for the top 10 on September 12th.

Congratulations to everyone who applied.