The American Heart Association launched the program in 2016 to inspire and equip entrepreneurs and organizations who are passionate about healthcare. It is designed to support community-centered business solutions to systemic public health issues that cause disparities—solutions that are both sustainable and scalable. Since its launch four years ago, the program has trained 38 social entrepreneurs and provided nearly $500K in grant funding, according to the AHA.
The program’s finalists complete an eight-week-long curriculum that covers design thinking, customer discovery, market positioning, brand development, and fundraising.
In the past, finalists have gone on to engineer a diabetes management device, design a program that creates STEM education out of dirt bike culture, and make affordable groceries accessible at metro stations, according to a statement.
This year, both winners were focused on improving the survival rates of people experiencing medical emergencies like cardiac arrest.
They were chosen by a panel of three business experts: Shelly Bell, founder and CEO of Black Girl Ventures; Bryan Hollaway, principal consultant at Slalom Consulting Firm; and Mathew Knowles, founder and CEO of Music World Entertainment, who is well-known for managing the careers of his two daughters, Beyoncé and Solange.