igniting change

Houston health tech accelerator launches nonprofit to spark, support female leaders in the industry

Ignite has announced a new foundation to further its reach in supporting women in health care. Photo via ignitehealthcare.org

For the past few years, a Houston organization has supported nearly 100 female-founded health tech startups with programming, crucial connections, and more. Now, with a newly launched nonprofit arm, the organization is taking it to the next level to bolster women in health care.

Ignite Healthcare Network, which was founded in 2017 by longtime Houston health care professional Ayse McCracken, has created Ignite Health Foundation, a nonprofit foundation, to go beyond startups and technology to support women in health care across the board with networking and events, in-person and virtual programming, professional development, and more.

"The Foundation is a vehicle for major fundraising grants and foundations allowing Ignite to scale the work we do to discover exceptional women leaders and innovators, connect them with an expert community and help them achieve their career goals," McCracken says in a news release.

"This initiative not only amplifies our commitment to inspiring innovation in an untapped resource, female leaders and entrepreneurs but also sets the stage for groundbreaking advancements in healthcare," she adds.

The foundation will accept donations from those who look to level the playing field for women in health care leadership and to support innovative endeavours from female founders. The financial support will go toward all of Ignite's programming

"Join us on the journey and invest in women shaping the future of healthcare to create an inclusive and healthier world," says Sara Speer Selber, chair of Friends of Ignite Health Foundation, in the release.

Last month, Ignite hosted its annual Fire Pitch Competition at the Ion, crowning the award recipients and doling out cash prizes. This year, eight finalists of the 19-company cohort presented at the competition for judges and an audience, and three companies secured top spots and prizes.

In a recent interview with InnovationMap, McCracken spoke to how she's always looking for ways to grow her impact with Ignite.

"Having an impact in the health care industry and finding solutions is important to me," McCracken says of her passion for Ignite on a recent episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast. "The second aspect of that is there are so many women in health care, and yet you don't see them in leadership roles."

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