The American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, launched the Minnesota EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator at their Go Red for Women Evening of Empowerment on February 11, 2021. The accelerator empowers and invests in women social entrepreneurs and businesses that foster equitable access to good health.

Chaz Sandifer with theNEWmpls was awarded the “fan favorite” $2,500 financial grant to support her business impacting the social determinants of nutrition access and affordable fitness opportunities.

“My business, theNEWmpls, helps the Black community heal from the inside out by addressing health disparities and educating families about how to change the trajectory of their health history,” said Sandifer in a press release. “I teach donation-based group fitness classes, meal prep courses, operate a diabetes and arthritis prevention program, coach women who are pre-diabetic and overweight, and operate a farmers market that gives the community access to fresh fruits and vegetables.”

All eight Accelerator candidates have begun four weeks of intensive, online MBA-style training. 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 their projects.

After the training, candidates will present their proposed business solutions to a panel of expert judges at the Minnesota EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator Finale on April 1, 2021 at 4:30 PM CST. The other candidates include Carline Bengtsson with Dine4Dinners, Kimberly Brown with Get Up and Get Moving, Marlee Dorsey with Reviving Roots Therapy & Wellness, Jana Martin with FoodRX, Batala McFarlane with Insight News (iHEAL), Valerie Turner with VF Health Fitness Solutions and Alison Weinlaeder with Cardiomelon.

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At the finale event, two of the candidates will be awarded financial grants to operationalize models in their specific communities. First and second place finalists will receive $15,000 and $10,000 grants.

The Minnesota EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator is presented by Mayo Clinic and Cheerios.

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