The University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth (UNT HSC) is aiming to help launch the next batch of big ideas to shape the future of the industry.
The institution’s innovation and entrepreneurship department is looking for the next batch of applicants for its Innovation Challenge accelerator program. And it’s brought on new backers and expanded its invitation to more people for this new cohort.
“Our mission as a university is to create solutions for a healthier community,” said Amber Yourman, the department’s senior program manager, in a statement. “What better way to do that than through innovating, entrepreneurship and creating products and services that solve real problems in health care?”
Provides support, training, and funding
Launched last year, the Innovation Challenge provides entrepreneurs with support and training, in addition to $5,000 in non-dilutive funding, to help turn ideas into a business. The past four challenges were centered around specific topics like animal research and medication safety. However, for this new installment, the challenge is open to any solution aimed at addressing “unmet needs across the continuum of health science.”
In addition to an expanded scope, this challenge is also casting a wider net for applicants. Typically, the challenges have only been open to members of UNT HSC. But this time around the university has opened it up to providers, employees, and residents within Fort Worth’s JPS Health Network.
“Our ultimate long-term goal is to get to a point where we’re running challenges that are open to the whole city of Fort Worth,” said Robert McClain, associate VP of UNT HSC’s Division of Research and Innovation, in a statement.
Matching program funding by a two-to-one ratio
To help expand the accelerator program’s reach, the university has brought on new sponsors for the program. Builders + Backers, a venture capital accelerator firm, is joining the program to provide mentorship to the selected entrepreneurs. And Arkansas-based Heartland Forward, a nonprofit “think tank” spearheaded by members of the Walton family, will be matching program funding by a two-to-one ratio.
Applications due May 30
Applications for the upcoming Innovation Challenge are due by May 30. The program will kick off on June 16 and runs through August 25.
“One of our core values is to be visionary,” Yourman said. “That’s what we’re calling people to do with these innovation challenges.”
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