Challenge statement

Seeking novel solutions that improve care outcomes and address areas of health inequity.


Healthcare remains one of the fastest-growing sectors, attracting college students and young professionals to pursue careers across the industry. Recent data spanning 2020-2021 shows health professions and related programs ranked among the top degrees conferred across postsecondary institutions in the United States.1 Despite this growth, a 2022 study conducted by McKinsey & Company found Black and Latino founders secured only 2.5 percent of U.S. venture capital funding, while women-founded teams received just 1.9 percent.2 These underrepresented founders often create companies that outperform their counterparts and effectively address underserved, marginalized markets. As burgeoning professionals embrace this trajectory, empowering the next generation of underrepresented healthtech innovators is vital to addressing health disparities and closing gaps in health outcomes.

To contribute to the advancement of students and early career professionals developing healthtech solutions to improve care outcomes and address areas of health inequity, the Healthcare Education, Research, and Innovation Foundation (HERIF) and MATTER are calling on innovators to submit their solutions to the Future HealthTech Leaders Innovation Challenge. Up to five finalists from the candidate pool will be chosen. These finalists will receive expert mentorship and exclusive resources to enhance their value propositions and refine their pitch. They will present their solutions at a final showcase during the week of September 9, 2024, in-person at MATTER in Chicago, Illinois.

Benefits of participation:

This challenge will provide participants access to mentorship, exclusive resources and interactive curriculum from subject matter experts to refine their value propositions and craft their pitch through an eight-week accelerator program. One winning solution will receive a $10,000 cash award.

Pitch competition participants should expect to:

  • Engage with other cutting-edge innovators
  • Network with peers and leading influencers
  • Receive mentorship from industry leaders and subject matter experts to refine their value propositions
  • Gain exposure to HERIF and MATTER communities
  • Pitch to key stakeholders such as potential investors, partners and clients
  • First place finalist will receive a free, six-month MATTER membership
  • Participate in-person at the final showcase at MATTER in Chicago, Illinois, the week of September 9, 2024

Challenge timeline:

April 29, 2024: Applications open
June 7, 2024: Applications close
June 28, 2024: Cohort announced
July 15–September 6, 2024: 8-week accelerator
Week of September 9, 2024: Final showcase

Who should apply:

Preference will be given to college students and early-stage entrepreneurs and underrepresented founders.

Selection criteria:

We will evaluate submissions with the following criteria in mind:

  • Ability to clearly articulate the problem statement
  • Demonstration of the quality, feasibility and scalability of proposed idea
  • Differentiation of solution within the competitive landscape
  • Capability of participant to develop and execute concept/idea

Submission process:

Applications will be open from April 29, 2024, until June 7, 2024 at 11:59pm CT. By June 28, 2024, HERIF and MATTER will select and notify up to five finalists to participate in the eight-week accelerator followed by the final showcase during the week of September 9, 2024. Each finalist will need to be in-person at the showcase in Chicago, Illinois to participate.

See the full Terms and Conditions.


  1. NCES Annual Reports and Information Staff (Annual Reports),” National Center for Education Statistics, 2023.
  2. Underrepresented startup founders: The untapped opportunity,” McKinsey & Company, 2023.

Ready to submit?

Deadline to submit is June 7, 2024
Submit now


The Healthcare Education, Research, and Innovation Foundation develops and supports high-impact programs that seek to transform person-centered care for individuals, families, and communities. We provide resources, support, and partnerships that enable healthcare and social professionals to enhance their skills, knowledge, and expertise while fostering innovation and research that drives new discoveries and improves health outcomes.


MATTER, the premier healthcare incubator and innovation hub, includes more than 1,000 current and alumni startups from around the world, working together with dozens of hospitals and health systems, universities and industry-leading companies to build the future of healthcare. Together, the MATTER community is accelerating innovation, advancing care and improving lives. For more information, visit and follow @MATTERhealth.