Center for Entrepreneurship School of Health Professions and Human Services Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell

Community Challenge for Healthcare Entrepreneurs

The Healthcare Entrepreneurship Community Challenge, an entrepreneurship competition with $25,000 in prize money overseen by Hofstra University’s Center for Entrepreneurship, is now accepting innovative proposals to improve the relationship between patients, providers and their communities in underserved areas of the New York metropolitan region.

The challenge seeks entrepreneurs with market-based products or services that address a community health care problem around this year’s Challenge topic, “Empowering Patients and Communities.”  The Challenge focus area is underserved communities in Long Island, New York City, and the Hudson Valley region. The deadline to submit proposals is April 27, 2018. Applications can be submitted at

The project is a partnership of Hofstra’s Center for Entrepreneurship, the School of Health Professions and Human Services, the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and Northwell Ventures, the investment arm of Northwell Health.

The prize money, totaling $25,000, is sponsored by Northwell Health, Hofstra’s School of Health Professions and Human Services, Frank G. Zarb School of Business and Office of the Provost, as well as Digital Remedy, a digital media solutions company.

The three-year project is funded by a $485,000 federal grant as part of the Regional Innovation Strategies program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.

“Hofstra University and its partners are seeking creative solutions to compelling community health challenges in our region’s underserved communities. By encouraging entrepreneurs to focus their talents and energy on solving community health problems, we will improve healthcare outcomes and the future of our regional economy,” said Mark Lesko, vice president for economic development at Hofstra University.

Each year, a steering committee comprised of public health, business, and venture capital experts will choose a different community healthcare topic. The 2018 topic, “Empowering Patients and Communities,” challenges entrepreneurs to propose innovative solutions to promote health equity and address the differences in health status that exist by race/ethnicity, class, and geography.

“This year’s theme is designed to be broad because we want to give entrepreneurs lots of room to explore and experiment as they search for new ways to address equity issues created by race, ethnicity, economic status and geography,” said Martine Hackett, an assistant professor of health professions at Hofstra and co-chair of the steering committee.

Said committee co-chair Anthony Santella, associate professor of health professions: “Entrepreneurs, by definition, are nimble, know how to adapt and are energized by complex challenges. We’re excited to see what kind of fresh perspectives they’ll bring to the challenge of making health care more accessible and affordable.”

All submissions will be reviewed by an expert panel of Entrepreneurial Instructors, who will also lead an intensive bootcamp for thirty selected entrepreneurs on May 31 and June 1, 2018 at Hofstra University’s Center for Entrepreneurship.  Entrepreneurs will receive technical assistance and mentorship to help bring their ideas to market.  A Community Advisory Panel will also connect entrepreneurs to communities to assist with their customer discovery.

Winning proposals will be chosen at a pitch competition and regional symposium on October 2, 2018 at Hofstra.



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