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Black Innovators in Skin Health QuickFire Challenge

Challenge ended

Grant funding up to $50,000

Consumer Health


EADEM is a clean beauty brand centered around women of color and their beauty needs for bare-skin confidence. Pioneering Smart Melanin Beauty, EADEM aims to offer skincare uniquely formulated for skin of color.


For too long, the face of skincare has reflected only SOME of the faces we see within our communities. We know there are a lack of consumer products available tailored to the needs of the Black community.

As the world’s largest healthcare company, Johnson & Johnson recognizes and embraces our responsibility for enacting change. Within our consumer business, our products must reach, have a positive impact on, and most importantly, serve everyone. Looking to the future of healthcare, we must seek out and support innovators from diverse backgrounds in order to generate inclusive solutions.

In the United States, only 3% of dermatologists are Black, and skin health industry research skews towards light categories of Fitzpatrick scale (I-IV) vs. darker categories (V-V1).

In addition to health disparities caused by lack of research and Black talent within the dermatology field, there is a gap in skin health consumer products available tailored to the needs of the Black community. On top of this, Black founders overall receive about 1% of venture capital.

As a result, Black patients face dermatologic disparities, in part due to the lack of specific knowledge around how to treat skin of color. We believe these gaps are unacceptable

To that end, Johnson & Johnson Consumer – Neutrogena® and Johnson & Johnson Innovation are proud to launch the Black Innovators in Skin Health QuickFire Challenge. The challenge offers an opportunity for U.S.-based Black innovators working on potential skin and scalp health solutions to receive grant funding and mentorship to advance their science.

The Black innovator(s) with the best idea, technology, or solution that aims to improve skincare will receive up to $50,000 in grant funding, access to the global JLABS network and mentorship from experts at the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies.


Grant funding up to $50,000
  • Mentoring from experts within the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies
  • Access to the Johnson & Johnson Innovation - JLABS ecosystem

Areas of interest

Black innovators based in the United States are invited to submit potential solutions aiming to improve skin health, including but not limited to:

  • Acne & post-acne scarring
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Scalp care
  • Sun Protection

* Product should be available for commercialization within 6-18 months.

Application process

Potential solutions will be evaluated by a panel of reviewers and judges on their ability to meet the following criteria:

  • Uniqueness of the idea
  • Potential impact on human health, with a specific focus on inclusive innovations
  • Feasibility of the idea
  • Thoroughness of approach
  • Identification of key resources and plan to further idea

Why this challenge matters to us

We know that no single organization can solve for the deeply rooted inequities, but believe we all must listen, engage, and ultimately, take action to deliver immediate and sustained change.

Working together, we can bring to life the future of inclusive skin care.

Apply Now

Submit your idea today! 

Don’t miss the deadline


What if I’m having trouble accessing the portal/website?

Make sure your browser is up to date and accepting cookies. You can contact customer service at [email protected] if you are having technical difficulties as well.

Can I submit supporting documents (for example a video) as part of my application?

You will have the opportunity and are encouraged to upload supporting materials such as slide decks, research papers, and videos as part of your application. You may submit a video along with your typed responses. Maximum length is 2 minutes.

Is it ok if some of the information I submit is confidential?

Do not submit confidential information. Only non-confidential information should be submitted and anything you submit will be treated as non-confidential.

What happens with IP (Intellectual Property)?

As this is a no strings attached arrangement, JLABS does not acquire any IP.  Any IP creation and/or protection remains the sole responsibility of the inventors.

Is a patent required to apply?

No, a patent is not required to apply.  However, you should not submit any information that you wish to keep confidential or that may negatively impact upon the future patentability of your invention.

What kind of science / technology is appropriate for the Challenges?

We encourage all to apply. Find out more about what areas we desire to explore here: https://www.jnjinnovation.com/partnering

Who is eligible to apply?

Each Challenge has its own terms & conditions that can be found prior to filling out the application.

What are the specific criteria for application?

Potential solutions will be evaluated by a panel of reviewers and judges on their ability to meet the following criteria:

  • Potential impact to transform human health
  • Uniqueness of the idea
  • Feasibility of the idea
  • Thoroughness of approach
  • Identification of key resources and plan to further idea

Who can I contact if I have questions about the Challenge or the application process?

Please contact [email protected] with any questions.

Where do I apply? And do I have to complete the application in one sitting?

Go to https://jnj-quickfire.smapply.io to learn more. From there you can access the JLABS website and set up an account.

You can setup an account at https://jnj-quickfire.smapply.io. You are able to save your work and log back in to finish at a later time if needed.

Who is eligible to apply for the Black Innovators in Skin Health QuickFire Challenge?

Applicants must be from the United States and meet at least one of the following conditions:

1.       President or CEO is Black/African American

2.       One or more Co-Founder(s) from a Co-Founding team is Black/African American. The Black/ African American Co-founder must be the #1 or #2 equity holder amongst all Co-Founders

What is the geographical scope of this QuickFire Challenge?

Applicants must be based in the United States to participate. Ideas, however, can apply to global audience. 


October 21, 2020
Applications Open
January 22, 2021
Submission Deadline
Q1 2021
Award Announcement


NEUTROGENA®, #1 dermatologist recommended skincare brand, has brought groundbreaking skincare solutions to consumers for more than 60 years. Today the brand offers more than 650 products worldwide in the face, body, acne, sun protection, makeup, men’s care, and anti-wrinkle categories. By creating, innovating and rethinking what is possible, NEUTROGENA® products consistently deliver real results without compromises.

About Johnson & Johnson Innovation

Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC focuses on accelerating all stages of innovation worldwide and forming collaborations between entrepreneurs and Johnson & Johnson’s global healthcare businesses. Johnson & Johnson Innovation provides scientists, entrepreneurs and emerging companies with one-stop access to science and technology experts who can facilitate collaborations across the pharmaceutical, medical device and consumer companies of Johnson & Johnson. Under the Johnson & Johnson Innovation umbrella of businesses, we connect with innovators through our regional Innovation Centers; Johnson & Johnson Innovation - JLABS; JJDC, Inc.; and our business development teams to create customized deals and novel collaborations that speed development of innovations to solve unmet needs in patients. JLABS provides the laboratories, expertise, education, tools and resources needed to help life science startups thrive, all with no strings attached. A Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center for Device Innovation at the Texas Medical Center (CDI @ TMC) has been established to accelerate the development of medical devices. For more information about Johnson & Johnson Innovation, please visit: www.jnjinnovation.com.

About Johnson & Johnson Innovation - JLABS

Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS (JLABS) is a global network of open innovation ecosystems, enabling and empowering innovators across a broad healthcare spectrum including pharmaceutical, medical device, consumer and health tech sectors to create and accelerate the delivery of life-saving, life-enhancing health and wellness solutions to patients around the world. JLABS achieves this by providing the optimal environment for emerging companies to catalyze growth and optimize their research and development by opening them to vital industry connections, delivering entrepreneurial programs and providing a capital-efficient, flexible platform where they can transform the scientific discoveries of today into the breakthrough healthcare solutions of tomorrow. At JLABS, we value great ideas and are passionate about removing obstacles to success to help innovators unleash the potential of their early scientific discoveries. JLABS is a no-strings-attached model, which means entrepreneurs are free to develop their science while holding on to their intellectual property. JLABS also produces campaigns to seek out the best science called QuickFire Challenges. For more information, visit www.jlabs.jnjinnovation.com or follow @JLABS.