Meharry Medical College has launched Middle Tennessee’s first social determinants of health-focused innovation challenge, open to startups and entrepreneurs from communities of color and underserved populations. Selected applicants will receive a comprehensive package of services worth tens of thousands of dollars to support or launch their business and a year-long residency in Meharry’s business incubator, ResilienSeed.
As part of Meharry’s mission to advance equity and serve the underserved, the innovation challenge aims to support populations and their businesses that have been disproportionately affected by social determinants of health; the conditions of an individual’s surroundings affecting their general health.
Innovation Challenge winners will be selected on various criteria including, potential positive impact on health equity, social determinants of health, and workforce diversity. While not required, preferred business concepts will be in healthcare and technology that impact socioeconomic and physical environment and health behaviors.
ResilienSeed residents will have access to a litany of specialized minority-entrepreneur services, like corporate inclusive procurement registration training, grant and SBIR/STTR advisement, and the opportunity to collaborate with Meharry’s extensive alumni and partner network, and work alongside Meharry faculty on government funding opportunities and clinical trials.
Additionally, selected applicants are provided mentorship by hand-picked well-known industry leaders who offer specialized business and networking guidance, entrepreneur-specific business courses and training, and access to free or deeply-discounted services.
“ResilienSeed’s efforts to support underserved entrepreneurs will help level economic inequalities and vastly improve the entrepreneurial landscape health of all communities across Middle Tennessee,” said Dr. James E. K. Hildreth, president/CEO of Meharry Medical College. “Capitalizing on the incubator’s resources, participants will leverage their business ideas to tackle countless issues across a breadth of industries, many further amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic and brought on by health and economic disparities.”
“There’s no better place to launch our nationwide incubator than Middle Tennessee as the region continues to be an innovation epicenter of technology, healthcare, and inclusion,” said Dr. Bryan Heckman, founding director of the Center for the Study of Social Determinants of Health. “Having a diverse background of entrepreneurs in our economy will play a vital role in closing the wealth gap, expanding workforce diversity, and innovating toward a new equitable future. We’re honored to provide unprecedented assistance and funding opportunities and positively impact health and economic disparities.”
Middle Tennessee innovators and entrepreneurs with businesses that will lead to a new equitable future are encouraged to submit. Interested entrepreneurs can apply at <www.sdoh.center/incubator-2021>. Applications close on November 30.