Accelerating Black Leadership and Entrepreneurship (ABLE)

About Accelerating Black Leadership and Entrepreneurship (ABLE)

Accelerating Black Leadership and Entrepreneurship (ABLE) is an enterprise accelerator program designed to strengthen, energize, and support startups and small businesses led by Black entrepreneurs in the United States. ABLE identifies Black business leaders with impact-oriented solutions at the local and national level addressing essential community needs while spurring sustainable growth. 27 Black founders have graduated since the program launched in 2021.
Who can apply? Black entrepreneurs leading startups and small businesses. The target audience is those who are early-stage and revenue-generating (seed to Series A) for-profit enterprises.
The third cohort of ABLE will be composed of 15-20 entrepreneurs. Applications are welcome from all industries, with a preference for those that are impact-oriented. Priority will be for businesses in underrepresented sectors.
Benefits Overview The top 15-20 entrepreneurs will receive a fully paid entrepreneurship and leadership training complemented by mentorship and network-building forums. Cohort members will present their ventures at an in-person pitch session and graduation to leading Silicon Valley investors, angel and impact investors, and venture capitalists among others. Participants will receive a modest stipend as a financial award upon completion of the program.
Time Commitment The training will take place from September to October 2023, with weekly sessions (5 hours per week) and an additional 3-4 hours for mentorship and network-building throughout the program.
Applications are due by Wednesday, June 14, 2023, at 11:59 PM PST.

Important Notes:

  • Please only share non-confidential information in your application
  • There is no cost to participate in the program and companies do not need to give up any equity.

Interested applicants can register for the ABLE Cohort 3 Info Session to Learn More. Register today! For more information, please contact


Lead Funder

Makahakama Foundation

Seed Funder



KLA Logo


Blackrock logo


Academic Partner

Ecosystem Partners

ABLE Provides

Program Goals

Enterprises emerging from this partnership will

ABLE Program Advisory Committee Members

Raj Aji

Raj Aji

General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer, BILL

Raj Aji brings more than 20 years experience representing payments, e-commerce and enterprise technology companies. As Senior Vice President and General Counsel at BILL, Raj is responsible for legal, regulatory, and compliance matters affecting the company, including commercial transactions and intellectual property. Prior to joining, he led the legal and compliance team for Intuit’s payments business. Before Intuit, Raj was the SVP and General Counsel at Obopay where he was integral in forming commercial relationships with global banks and telecoms, and deploying mobile payment services in seven countries spanning three continents.
Jackie Bouvier Copeland

Jackie Bouvier Copeland

Founder and President/CEO The WISE Fund Founder, Black Philanthropy Month

A social and environmental justice leader, Dr. Jackie Bouvier Copeland is Founder and President/CEO of The Women Invested to Save Earth (WISE) Fund, an innovation enterprise, supporting grassroots Black and Indigenous women climate change innovators in Africa, Brazil, Australia and the USA. Founder of Black Philanthropy Month, a global campaign to document, celebrate and promote African-descent giving, social investment and venture funding that has reached 17 million people, she also is an award-winning social change visionary, recognized as a HistoryMaker by the US Congress for her innovative civic contributions. Her life mission is to promote the wellness and rights of humanity and the planet that we all share.
Joyce Chung, Managing Director, Garage Technology Ventures

Joyce Chung

President, Makahakama Foundation

Joyce Chung has over 10 years of operating experience in technology companies and 15 years of venture capital investing experience. She was a Managing Director at Garage Technology Ventures, a founding partner of Cardinal Venture Capital, and a Director at Adobe Ventures. Joyce also held operating roles at Adobe Systems, Sony Corporation, and Cambridge Technology Group. She is currently focused on philanthropic activities.
Nousheen Eslambolchi

Nousheen Eslambolchi

Chief of Staff, Visby Medical

Nousheen Eslambolchi has more than 20 years of experience in the Tech and Medical Device industries. She joined Visby Medical earlier this year in the fight against Covid-19 and other infectious diseases. Prior Nousheen was Director of Innovation at eBay Inc. leading a 2500+ employee Innovation Program, an incubator for groundbreaking ideas, and the place where participants could shape the future of eBay with a project they believe in. Prior to that, she led the design, development, and manufacturing of Boston Scientific’s Endoscopic Vessel Harvesting device. Nousheen is passionate about inspiring youth to think about our planet’s most pressing needs and instill the belief that they can make a difference. She is involved with several organizations and programs that provide education and opportunities to youth to create a better world for their generation and beyond
Helen Kim

Helen Kim

Strategy & Operations for Engineering, Product & Design at Pinterest

Helen Kim is a Senior Operations Executive with expertise leading Product, Engineering and Program Management teams in high-tech, e-commerce and professional services. Successful track record with strategic planning, and proven ability to develop and inspire cross-functional teams to deliver bottom line business objectives while achieving customer success. She is currently the Strategy & Operations for Engineering, Product & Design at Pinterest. Prior to Pinterest, she was an executive at multiple tech companies including, eBay, Yahoo, McAfee and VeriSign.
Thane Kreiner

Thane Kreiner

Co-Founder, Black Corporate Board Readiness Program

Thane is a CEO, board member, and independent advisor with over 27 years leading systemic change to improve health and wellness for people and planet by creating strategy, driving innovation, and building successful enterprises. He is committed to diversity and inclusion, informing corporate purpose, ESG strategies, and high-performance teams. He currently serves on the Board of Conservation X Labs; is a founding member of the Silicon Valley Executive Center’s Advisory Board; and is co-founder of the Black Corporate Board Readiness program.
Dr. Michael Moscherosch

Dr. Michael Moscherosch

Founder, Period Element LLC

Michael has 25 years of experience with Johnson & Johnson Consumer in Research, Development & Engineering as well as Sustainability, both in North America and Germany. In his current role his main focus is on social innovation, finding and incubating health related startup companies in sub-Saharan Africa. Michael holds a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Stuttgart, Germany.
Lyndon Mouton

Lyndon Mouton

SVP, Corporate Development, The LongBoard Group.

Lyndon Mouton is an entrepreneurial leader in the alternative investments space, covering the spectrum of private equity assets across a range of industries. He currently works as an investor and COO at New Paradigm Technology Partners, a multi-family investment firm focusing on venture capital investments in the CPG and Tech sectors. Bachelors in Finance and Economics from Babson College and an MBA from Columbia University.
Guy Primus

Guy Primus

CEO and Board Member Valence

Guy Primus is a technology executive with over 20 years of experience operating at the intersection of media and innovation. Throughout his career, Guy has demonstrated the ability to combine technology and popular culture to create aggressive organic growth for companies from early-stage startups to Fortune 100. He is also lead inventor on two patents in the digital media/Ad Tech space. Guy currently serves as CEO and board member at Valence, a venture-backed company whose mission is to create new paths to success for Black professionals.

Ahmad Thomas

CEO, Silicon Valley Leadership Group

Ahmad Thomas is the CEO of the Silicon Leadership Valley Group, the region’s most dynamic business association. As a change agent and next generation business leader, Thomas partners with the organization’s 350+ member companies to promote entrepreneurial solutions to strengthen Silicon Valley business competitiveness, bolster its innovation ecosystem, and create shared economic value throughout the greater Bay Area. In his first two years as CEO, Thomas has catalyzed industry-leading initiatives to operationalize change around diversity, equity, and inclusion from the Boardroom to the C-suites and beyond.

ABLE Team Leads

Almaz Negash

Almaz Negash

Founder of ADN & Executive Director

In 2010, Almaz founded African Diaspora Network (ADN) to inform and engage Africans in the diaspora and facilitate direct collaboration with social entrepreneurs, innovators, and business leaders globally.

Lead Academic Advisor - Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University

Dennis Lanham

Dennis Lanham

Sr. Assistant Dean and Executive Director, Silicon Valley Executive Center

Dennis Lanham is the Sr. Assistant Dean of Executive Education, and Executive Director of the Silicon Valley Executive Center at Santa Clara University. With more than 15+ years of experience in business education, nonprofit, and program management, Dennis has built numerous programs for businesses and working professionals across industries in leadership, innovation, entrepreneurship, marketing, sales, operations, and many other business-critical areas. He has worked with dozens of corporate clients and university partners and has built more than ten open enrollment programs from the ground up.

Program Director of DEI Initiatives

Heather Buffington-Anderson

Heather Buffington-Anderson

Program Director of DEI Initiatives at the Silicon Valley Executive Center at Santa Clara University.

Heather Buffington-Anderson currently serves as the Program Director of DEI Initiatives at the Silicon Valley Executive Center at Santa Clara University. In this role, she works with our partners at the African Diaspora Network to manage the Accelerated Black Leadership and Entrepreneurship program. Additionally, Heather directs and manages the Women’s Corporate Board Readiness Program, the Black Corporate Board Readiness Program. Prior to her current role, Dr. Buffington-Anderson served as an Assistant Professor of Music History & Ethnomusicology at Claflin University and directed several grant initiatives aimed at closing opportunity gaps for HBCU students entering the workforce.

ADN Program Lead

Debra Pacio

Manager, Entrepreneurship and Community Engagement

Debra manages ADN's entrepreneurship programs, including Accelerating Black Leadership and Entrepreneurship (ABLE) and Builders of Africa’s Future (BAF). Previously as a freelance writer, she has contributed to the content and program development of the flagship African Diaspora Investment Symposium and the Impact and Innovation Forums since 2015. Debra has also served as a high school teacher in the Bay Area and holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Stanford University.

ADN Program Lead

Brett Cave

Entrepreneurship Programs Manager

Brett is a former Fulbright-Hayes Fellow and accomplished, impact-driven Program Manager, entrepreneur, and trainer with over 10 years of expertise across the educational, nonprofit, corporate, and technology sectors.
Brett has an undergraduate degree in French from Clark Atlanta University and Masters in International Intercultural Management from the School for International Training.
She is passionate about education, the advancement, and positive sustainable development of the continent and people of the African diaspora. 

ADN Program Lead

Muhammed Bah

Muhammed S. Bah

Innovation & Diaspora Engagement Officer

Muhammed leads operations for ADN’s innovation programs and initiatives, including the ADN Telehealth Pilot. Prior to joining ADN as a volunteer intern in March 2022, he worked as a timeline project manager at the Duke University Center for Muslim Life, where he had the opportunity to serve Muslim students on campus. He also helped coordinate several community events geared toward building relationships between Duke University students, local leaders, and professionals from diverse disciplines.

ABLE Partner Testimonials