Apply by July 16 for the EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator

Two students holding a prototype of a smart watch
(Left to right) SugEx co-founders Russell Fearon ’20 G’21 and Ricardo Sanchez ’21

The American Heart Association’s EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator is looking for a diverse pool of social entrepreneurs and organizations who are driving change through health justice in their communities.  The 2021 application cycle is now open through July 16.   

Syracuse University student Russell Fearon ’20 G ’21, College of Engineering and Computer Science, received a $50,000 grant through the program in 2020, plus an additional $5,000 for receiving the most fan votes in the program. He used that to help commercialization efforts for SugEx, a wearable device for diabetes management he developed at Syracuse with his co-founder Ricardo Sanchez ’21 VPA School of Design.  Fearon and Sanchez created the concept and initial prototype through the Invent@SU program and continued to work on it through the Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University.

This same opportunity is now open for other Syracuse innovators and Russell is happy to share how the program impacted his business and to encourage similar entrepreneurs to apply this year.

The EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator is for community-based social entrepreneurs and nonprofits working to solve issues related to the social determinants of health across the country. Participants selected for the program will have a chance to receive up to $65,000 in grant funding. Previous participants have introduced innovative approaches to bridging gaps in access to healthcare, healthy food, stable housing, and STEM education. Small business owners and organizations from historically underrepresented communities are especially encouraged to apply for a chance to participate in the eight-week accelerator.

For more information and to apply, visit

Topics for this year’s accelerator program applications include, but are not limited to, food access, employment and affordable housing.

The 2021 program is an eight-week program. Please allow at least eight to 10 hours a week for individual work sessions and virtual group activities.


  • Application window is open through July 16
  • Application reviews July  17 through August 5
  • Candidates announced August 6
  • Training August 6 – October 8
  • Fan voting October 4  through October 21
  • Finale event Thursday,  October 21