Still Time for Startups to Apply to the TechUnited:NJ BetterWellness Challenge

The BetterWellness Challenge, created by TechUnited:NJ and financed by RJWBarnabas Health (West Orange), has a lot of moving pieces. In this article, is going to try to get a handle on all the moving parts, so that you can apply for the Challenge by August 27.

In his introduction, Aaron Price, president and CEO of TechUnited:NJ, stated that there is huge opportunity to innovate in the wellness space, and added, “We are bringing a huge corporate partner to your doorstep to help accelerate your startup.”

Two prizes of $25,000 will be given out, and the startups contestants must address one of two challenge statements:

Address and Improve Social Determinants of Health

  • The solution should address social determinants of health, including substandard housing, poor food quality and food access and unemployment. 

Improve Clinical Cancer Treatment

  • The solution should accelerate and/or support the treatment or detection of cancer, utilizing innovative methods such as genomics, artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analysis.

One $25,000 prize will be given to a startup from anywhere in the country that can address either one of these challenges. The second $25,000 check will go to a Rutgers-based startup. At least one member of the second company must hold an undergraduate or graduate degree from Rutgers University.

Here are the judging criteria:

·  Equitable adoption or implementation of the solution must be possible from inception.

·  The implementation of the solution in healthcare settings must provide an opportunity for workforce development or training.

·  Solutions can include software, hardware or a combination of the two. 

·  The company must be generating $2 million or less annually. 

·  The company must be based in the U.S.

“I’m so excited about this,” Price said. “It’s exactly what I needed when I was building my company, a way to get in the door of a big corporation, to not just validate what I was doing, but to help provide some scale, and mentorship and awareness.”

Barry Ostrowsky, president and CEO of RJWBarnabas Health, appealed to startups to apply to the challenge. Aside from the financial incentive, “what you’ll be able to do for our communities and society in general is something I know is attractive.”

The timeline for the challenge is this: After the applications are in, semifinalists will be chosen and matched with executive mentors. They will be reviewed for corporate opportunities.  The top four semifinalists will be chosen to present at Propelify, on October 6-7, 2021, and two winners will be selected.

The application for the BetterWellness Challenge can be found here.

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