Aramis Jones can usually be found sporting her company t-shirt with an inscription–"Driven by Care"–which sums up her vision, her mission, and her company.
Aramis Jones is the founder of Renew Mobile Health, a company that is developing a mobile application and truck that will offer community health and wellness in underserved areas in West Tennessee. Aramis' mobile app would allow people to order fresh food and discover free health and wellness classes, patient advocacy, and links to other health-centered resources. The truck will help providers bring their services directly to underserved communities for residents of fixed and lower-incomes across Memphis.
Aramis was a participant in West Tennessee's Builders + Backers Idea Accelerator Program, a program designed to open doors to entrepreneurial exploration and expansion of business ideas, particularly ideas featuring a mobility component. The Idea Accelerator was funded by The Ford Motor Company Fund and powered by Heartland Forward, a nonprofit "think and do" tank focused on economic renewal. For Aramis, whose business was in early stage ideation at the time of her application for the program, the invitation to explore her idea was invaluable.
During Aramis' 10 years in health care, she learned that social deterrents like limited access to transportation, gaps in financial stability, limited access to quality food and simply not being well informed about insurance plans were barriers to building quality relationships with care providers.
"I'm 34 years old and have worked in the healthcare industry for over 10 years. I quit my job in 2021 to accelerate getting people connected to care and helping them stay connected to care," says Aramis. "People are experiencing gaps in care. I believe my idea can help bridge gaps and strengthen relationships with care providers."
Renew Mobile Health was refined during the 90-day Builders + Backers program. With the grant from the Idea Accelerator, Aramis will be able to begin testing her idea with a "skipper" van. At this early stage in the development of Renew Mobile Health, the skipper van will not be fitted with mobile care equipment and provisions necessary for health care providers. Instead, the skipper van will be used to build brand awareness and help Aramis transport the supplies and equipment needed for Renew Mobile Health's community based events such as cooking classes, community garden building, and sessions with dieticians.
"The Idea Accelerator helped me to distill my big idea. They made me really consider: What's the real problem you're trying to address? And what's the impact? What gaps can you fill to help people get the most out of the services you provide?" says Aramis. "One of the bigger takeaways–and there were so many–came from my Builder. She said, ‘Don't let that one dark moment deter you from the light you're gonna bring to somebody else.' That helps to keep me going forward and I heard it during the accelerator."
Advice from Aramis
If you have dynamic ideas that would be extremely beneficial to your community, the Builders + Backers Ideas Accelerator will help you bring your idea to life. So many people hold onto an idea because they don't know what to do next, don't have the finances, the connections, or the resources. This program lasts 90 days. It's doable. Someone once said, "Don't let your best ideas only live in the Notes [app] on your phone." That's real. This program was a great launchpad for getting my business on track. It can do the same for you.
Help Spread the Word
If you know someone who might be interested in the next Backers + Builders Idea Accelerator program, please share the application available here. The application deadline is Monday, May 22. The virtual program starts on June 8, 2023.
About the Builders + Backers Idea Accelerator Program
The Builders + Backers Idea Accelerator Program is designed to make it easy for anyone to explore entrepreneurship. The program encourages business ideas featuring a mobility component and those with a focus on creating access to essential services, education and entrepreneurship are highly encouraged.
Applicants are not required to submit a business plan or have a pitch deck for their idea. This second cohort of 20 Builders in West Tennessee is part of Heartland Forward's commitment to supporting 1,000 Builders across the heartland by 2023.
At the heart of the program are four pillars designed to mobilize and equip Builders through:
- Idea Accelerator: This cohort-based program combines a 45-day Builder Bootcamp to teach participants how to put ideas into action, followed by 45 days of actively executing their ideas through a single experiment.
- Pebble Fund: All of the Builders are supported by a $5,000 Pebble Grant to test their ideas. Participants are mentored by Master Builders throughout the program.
- Storytelling: A comprehensive media program that curates, captures and distributes stories of Buildership™, both from within the programs and in communities everywhere. Through video, written stories, social media and media partnerships, the program inspires people to become Builders.
- Buildership™ Workshops: Workshops and other events introduce people to the ideas of Buildership™ and demonstrate that anyone can generate creative solutions through entrepreneurial experimentation that contribute to the sustainability of communities.
The program was first piloted in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Oxford, Mississippi in the summer of 2021, and since then, there have been over 400 Builders across 15 cities. To learn more, click here.