All Chicago residents deserve a fair and equitable opportunity to be as healthy as they can be.

MATTER, the global healthcare innovation hub headquartered in Chicago, and YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, a social enterprise committed to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all, have launched the Health Equity Innovation accelerator program to support entrepreneurs with solutions that advance health equity.

The eight-week, cohort-based accelerator is a joint program of the YWCA Breedlove Entrepreneurship Center and the MATTER Advancing Health Equity initiative. Accelerator participants will receive access to mentorship, exclusive resources and interactive curriculum from subject matter experts, and will graduate with a validated business concept and a clear roadmap to bring their solution to market.

Areas of interest include solutions that help reduce health disparities through:

  • Addressing the impact of social determinants of health (SDoH) on health outcomes
  • Promoting health education
  • Increasing access to healthcare and social services
  • Providing mental and behavioral health services
  • Promoting healthy youth development
  • Preventing chronic diseases
  • Utilizing data and research to promote equity in healthcare

Submission criteria for applicants:

Applicants should have a goal to develop and launch a solution that has a direct impact on addressing social determinants of health (SDOH) in Chicago’s underrepresented communities.

Applicants should also have a presence in the Chicagoland area (e.g., located in Chicago, solution to launch in Chicago). Preference will be given to underrepresented entrepreneurs of color from Chicago.


The first cohort of the hybrid virtual and in-person accelerator will begin on Monday, September 13, 2021. Applications are due by 11:59pm CST on Wednesday, August 18, 2021.

August 18, 2021: Applications close
August 31, 2021: Cohort selected and notified
September 13, 2021: Accelerator begins
November 4, 2021: Closing ceremony and final showcase

Accelerator time commitment:
During the program, participants will benefit from an array of structured resources to help them build their solutions. Participants should expect to dedicate five to eight hours per week to accelerator assignments and activities. Three to five hours per week will include scheduled in-person and virtual programming such as cohort events, workshops, mentoring sessions and a weekly progress check in.

While the formal program will only be eight weeks, each participating company will graduate with actionable next steps to further advance their solutions over the subsequent six months.

Additional questions? Send them to

Interested in sponsoring this program?

MATTER and YWCA Metropolitan Chicago are seeing sponsorship (monetary or in-kind business services) from businesses interested in supporting the development of these solutions. For more information on sponsorship and other opportunities to get involved, fill out this form.


MATTER, the premier healthcare incubator and innovation hub, includes more than 200 cutting-edge 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.

About Advancing Health Equity

MATTER’s Advancing Health Equity initiative aims to unravel the various forms of inequities affecting our healthcare system today and understand the role innovation and technology can play in shaping a more equitable future. The initiative examines health equity through two lenses: resilient communities and inclusive technology.

About YWCA Metropolitan Chicago

Founded in 1876, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago is a social enterprise committed to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. As a leading association among a national network of more than 200 YWCAs, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago impacts tens of thousands of women and families annually through comprehensive human services provided across the region. YWCA Metropolitan Chicago is a leader in the areas of sexual violence support, early childhood and child care provider services, family support, youth STEM programming and economic empowerment. A commitment to racial justice, equity and inclusion is foundational to all YWCA programs and services. Located in the third-largest American city, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago serves as a national incubator for innovative programming, outreach and engagement strategies. YWCA Metropolitan Chicago works at both the individual and systems levels to create the truly inclusive marketplace necessary for a diverse and balanced economy. The organization is an active member of many national, state, county and city-level coalitions, advocating for policies that combat racism and positively affect women and families. Learn more at and follow @ywcachicago on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.

About BreedLove Entrepreneurship Center

The YWCA Breedlove Entrepreneurship Center is an initiative of YWCA Metropolitan Chicago in collaboration with DePaul University’s Women in Entrepreneurship Institute (WEI). The effort is strengthened through our partnership with WEI who brings with them 40 successful women entrepreneurs who are committed to ensuring that other women of color business owners realize success and prosperity. This initiative is focused on supporting Black women entrepreneurs with revenues of $500,000+ that are undercapitalized. We believe that with adequate funding and support they can have a catalytic impact on the communities they serve.