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Harvard HealthLab Accelerators, or H2A, plays a crucial role in nurturing student entrepreneurs with a passion for social impact.

Our small, tight-knit cohorts include students from across Harvard University’s undergraduate and graduate schools. Each year, we accept 10 multidisciplinary teams, many of which blend students from traditional entrepreneurial spaces (the sciences, engineering, business) with those from liberal arts, public health, and law. The common denominator: A determination to tackle pressing issues in public and planetary health.

H2A occupies a unique niche in the campus innovation landscape. Many higher ed accelerators focus on boosting ventures with the near-term potential to become successful businesses. At H2A, in contrast, we are laser-focused on the long-term potential of our students to grow into effective social entrepreneurs. Some of the projects that brought them into the cohort may mature into thriving ventures, but overall, we see ourselves as investing in the students, rather than their specific ideas. Our goal is to give them the mentorship, training, experience, and confidence they’ll need to launch a lifetime of successful social entrepreneurship.

To maximize the educational value of the program, we keep our cohorts small. Each team receives individualized coaching from H2A staff as well as 1:1 mentoring from successful entrepreneurs and experts in fields such as intellectual property and marketing strategy. Each team also has an opportunity to present to—and field questions from—our Venture Board, made up of high-level executives from multiple industries with deep experience in startup ventures.

Another unique feature of our program is its international reach. Our flagship accelerator is based on Harvard campus and accepts only teams with at least one member enrolled full-time in a Harvard degree program. But we are also working with public and private partners abroad to build H2A accelerators in Africa, Brazil, and Canada. We create multiple opportunities for student entrepreneurs in these regions to connect with our Boston-based teams via Zoom: They’re attending workshops together, coaching one another, and building networks that we believe will be extremely useful as they build their professional careers.
HeathLab Connect

H2A Connect

HealthLab Connect is our accelerator's educational extension project. We partner with community and educational organizations to develop workshops that help students grow their critical and creative thinking skills and learn about entrepreneurship. Our goal is to inspire students of all ages and backgrounds to find their own path toward social impact. Together, we will make the world a better place.


Who is eligible?

H2A is open to teams of current students and postdocs from across the university, and staff and/or faculty advisors are welcome. Teams are encouraged to include individuals from outside Harvard. Priority will be given to multi-disciplinary teams that draw heavily on the expertise of students enrolled in Harvard College and/or Harvard graduate schools. Applicants must be early-stage ventures with less than ~ $20,000 in funding.

What ventures may apply?

We’ll gladly look at any idea or venture that offers a sustainable and empathetic solution to an intractable societal problem

Need inspiration? If your venture addresses any of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, you’ll be eligible.

What is an intractable global problem?

Intractable global problems, represented by the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, include hunger, oppression, pollution, conflict, climate change, inequities in education, and human rights violations.

How do you apply to H2A?

To apply to H2A's cohort, you will need to present the following components:

  • A global health problem

  • A sustainable and empathetic solution

  • Your venture’s unique differentiating value 

  • A positive theory of change

  • A targeted and diverse team

Can I apply solo, or do I need a team?

You will need at least two members on your founding team. The team leader must be an enrolled, degree-seeking Harvard student. Our judging rubric for admission to the cohort awards more points for blended teams across schools and concentrations, consisting of undergraduate and graduate members with diverse backgrounds and multi-disciplinary areas of expertise. 

Will there be mentoring and networking opportunities?

Yes. Each team has access to mentors-at-large and is assigned a personal mentor. In addition, each team gets networking opportunities with members of the H2A Venture Board and industry experts. 

We host several networking events for our cohort, the LPCE community, the larger Harvard community, and social entrepreneurs outside Harvard's walls.

How much commitment will H2A require?

Participating in H2A requires:

  • Attending community-building events, including orientation 

  • Meeting with your paired mentor

  • Pitching to the H2A Venture Board and/or Harvard FounderCrush 

  • Attending virtual workshops with global H2A cohorts

  • Interacting with the H2A alumni community  

  • Completing H2A surveys

What else can I expect if my team makes the cut and joins the cohort?

Good question. If you are accepted into our cohort, your team will receive additional opportunities to engage with other creative entrepreneurial communities on campus and beyond, including the chance to connect virtually with the H2A teams in Africa, Brazil, and Canada. You will also be invited to workshops and community events with academic and industry experts and networking. You will also have a chance to seek additional funding up to $7500 by pitching to the H2A Venture Board.

Are funds I receive from H2A taxable?

Yes, please know all funds from H2A are taxable. Harvard will not be responsible for any applicable taxes or for increasing the funds to cover any applicable tax required to be withheld.

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