Q. What is the EmPOWERED To Serve™ urban business storytelling competition?
A. It is a competition whereby the American Heart Association is seeking startup companies, teams, individuals and nonprofit organizations to develop business models that will bring fresh ideas and innovative solutions to communities to remove barriers to health and wellbeing.


Q. What is EmPOWERED To Serve?
A. EmPOWERED To Serve (ETS) is the American Heart Association/American Stroke
Association’s multicultural program and movement developed to build a sustainable culture of health in diverse communities across America and encourage more people to get involved in their communities. ETS is designed to leverage the American Heart Association’s 2020 impact goal, improving health outcomes and reducing the gap in health disparities among minorities in multicultural communities. The overarching goals are to increase healthy living behaviors, enhance the chain
of survival and cultivate community transformation.


Q. Why is the American Heart Association launching this competition?
A. There are many factors that affect a person’s health, including community environments. People living just five miles apart can have a difference in life expectancy by more than 20 years. Thus, the American Heart Association is working in communities and joining with alliances to address key factors that impact health and wellbeing: economic stability, education, societal influences, neighborhoods and healthcare. The competition is an opportunity for community-focused companies, organizations and individuals to help affect community change.


Q. What are the competition rules and guidelines?
A. Through the competition website, applicants must submit a business model before 11:59 P.M. (EST) Tuesday, September 5. The entry must address a social factor that impacts a community’s ability to achieve equitable health and wellbeing. Business models that are submitted must target the needs of a specific community listed on the competition website, or identify a different community. The top 10 entries will receive an opportunity to present their business models in five-minute sessions at the Association’s EmPOWERED To Serve Summit on Tuesday, October 17 at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.


Q. What is Entre-SLAM?
A. Entre-SLAM is the vendor the American Heart Association has contracted to host the competition. Entre-SLAM delivers business storytelling events and training to assist businesses in honing their “storytelling” skills when presenting a business model or concept. Since 2012, Entre-SLAM has worked with over 1,000 startups and companies.


Q. What are the key dates for the competition?
A. The competition launches on August 18 and will conclude on October 17 at the
EmPOWERED To Serve Summit in Washington, D. C. Key dates are as follows:

  •  Application deadline: September 5
  •  Top 10 candidates/semi-finalists announced: September 12
  •  Training and prep: September 13 – October 7
  •  Entre-Slam: October 17


Q. How many winners will be selected and what will they win?
A. Initially, 10 semi-finalists will be selected. They will receive an opportunity to display and present their business models at the Summit on October 17. From there, three winners will be selected, receiving cash to fund their business concept.

  •  First place: $30,000
  •  Second place: $20,000
  •  Third place: $10,000

Community engagement is key to affecting change and addressing the social determinants of health. As such, program funding that supports initiatives that offer viable solutions to and raise awareness of the barriers to equitable health and wellbeing will be used to fulfill the financial awards.

The three winners will also have the opportunity to partner with a local American Heart
Association office, based on the community focus of their plans, for assistance in implementing their concept.

Q. Why is the presentation training that is being provided by Entre-SLAM a requirement of the competition?  
A. Business storytelling blends the personal narrative with the business brand model. Entre-SLAM will provide specialized business storytelling training to help the participants tell a blended, compelling story that aligns with the five-minute presentation requirement of the competition.


Q. What key attributes will the judges be considering when selecting the top 10, and ultimately, the winners?
A. The judging panel will review several factors when selecting the top 10 entries, and
ultimately, the three winners. They will take into consideration the following attributes:

  • How well does the business model/concept address social determinants of health?
  • Does the concept have the potential to grow? Can it be easily introduced to other communities?
  • Does the competitor clearly define what success looks like and how funds will be managed? 
  • Does the competitor exude passion and enthusiasm about their concept and its potential impact?


Q. The American Heart Association is a large organization with considerable funding. Why is it relying on external businesses, individuals and organizations to assist in this effort?
A. To affect meaningful change in the communities the Association serves, we understand that we must collaborate with and value the knowledge of organizations and individuals who have deep community connections. Tapping into and providing resources to community talent will give us the best opportunity to work together to devise solutions to address the social determinants of health.

What You Need To Know:

  • You can enter as an individual or as a team.
  • You can be at the idea stage, a start up or an established company.
  • 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 understanding of the issues facing the communities you wish to have your ideas implemented. 
  • Authenticity, passion and clarity of scope about your concept why you want it to work. 

If You Are Chosen as a Finalist:

You will receive 3-4 hours of coaching and training to help you build a 5-minute story. The American Heart Association will cover your hotel stay on October 17th. You are responsible for organizing your travel to Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. 

The competition will be live streamed on Facebook and voting will be open nationwide.

50% of the prize money will be awarded the night of the competition.

50% will be released after 60 days and verification that the proposed model has been implemented and is working.

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. Their team has worked with over 1,000 startups and companies that are seeking something deeper in their entrepreneurial experience.