The American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, awarded financial grants to three women entrepreneurs its first EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator – Oregon & SW Washington on Sept. 30. The accelerator empowers and invests in women social entrepreneurs and women-led businesses that foster equitable access to good health.
Maya Page was awarded the first place $75,000 financial grant to support her project, the Carry App. Based in Portland, Oregon, the Carry App offers movement and meditation for pregnant people and new parents to reduce stress and foster better health outcomes.
“We are literally ecstatic. This is a huge accolade and will be used for new app features, recording sessions with incredible prenatal and postpartum teachers, and getting the word out about the Carry app,” said Page.
“We’re here to raise the well-being of all parents and this blows wind in our sails towards that end.”
“Thank you to the Marie Lamfrom Charitable Foundation, the American Heart Association, and this deeply passionate cohort of excellent founders.”
The second place $30,000 financial grant was awarded to Candice Smith with Caregiven, a Portland-based company that has created a mobile app and web platform that empowers family caregivers as they provide support for loved ones following an injury, illness or as they age.
”This grant means so much to me, personally, and the Caregiven team,” said Smith. “Not only does the financial award enable us to make our product better and reach more caregivers, but the resonance of our story with the audience and the encouragement of the judges inspires us that we are on the right path, we are doing good and meaningful work.”
The Fan Favorite award went to Tylia Johnson-Allen who was awarded $15,000 to support her project, Hands That Help. Located in Portland, Hands That Help works in the African American and BIPOC communities helping its clients connect to various accessible resources.
“Winning this grant means more to our agency than words could explain,” said Johnson-Allen.
“To have the support of our community means that they believe in us, in our work and our commitment to them.
“This is only the beginning!”
The panel of expert judges included Sam Yamoah, chief strategy and innovation officer at Cambia Health; Stephen L. Noble, M.D., FACS, cardiothoracic surgeon and lead medical advisor to Live Chair Health, a previous American Heart Association Accelerator winner; and Sally Bany, Marie Lamfrom Charitable Foundation co-founder and trustee.
All six candidates completed a six-week intensive training that challenged them to further scale their existing business models to address health equity problems in their communities. Each founder discovered or honed their unique value proposition and gained new analytical skills in the area of customer discovery. All studied the art of storytelling in order to create a five-minute narrative about their project and their leadership.
The Oregon and Southwest Washington EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator is presented by the Marie Lamfrom Charitable Foundation.
“I am delighted to be a part of this process,” said Bany.
“It has been wonderful to see these women help further the health equity of our communities.”
Since 2017, the American Heart Association’s Accelerator program has trained 93 social entrepreneurs and 48 organizations and provided $600,000 in financial grants across the country. 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 projects.