Bank of America Breakthrough LabTM

What if your big idea became a powerful force for change?

Breakthrough Lab is an accelerator program for minority founders from underserved communities. It provides access to expertise and mentorship for early-stage businesses that are building growth models, establishing industry contacts and positioning themselves for new funding. We are committed to helping turn your ideas into reality by unlocking economic opportunities for people and communities of color.

What makes Breakthrough Lab unique?

We’re with you, offering tailored Executive Sponsor & Mentorship to minority founders faced with start-up requirements and operational gaps. Count on us for your major needs, such as digital expertise, industry connections, access to various forms of capital, as well as the day-to-day benefits of a part-time program that gives working founders flexibility, and ongoing assistance with developing your brand identity. Best of all, there is no requirement to exchange equity with BofA. As we see it, your success is our success.

How it works

The six-month, part-time program provides you with business resources, coursework and instruction from industry experts, with four levels of support:


  • Two to four hours per week of education
  • Weekly one-on-one team office hours
  • Dedicated senior-level mentors
  • Expert insight from industry professionals


What benefits can you expect?

Curriculum — Access and exposure to bank and industry financial technology experts offer key content of the curriculum.


Mentoring — Establishing connections with senior-level bank mentors and access to bank and industry pros provides essential guidance.


Access to Capital — Demo Day and curriculum can open opportunities for capital by establishing connections to potential investors, CDFIs and grants.


Program Expenses — Bank of America will pay for select expenses associated with the program.


Who is eligible?

The Breakthrough Lab is open to:


  • Entrepreneurial-spirited teams with a minimum of two and a maximum of five members
  • Black, Hispanic-Latino and other underrepresented groups
  • Ideas related to financial technology/promoting financial inclusion
  • Participants that have not received prior seed funding
  • Minority ownership of 50% or greater


While the aspirational goal of our program is to increase access for underrepresented groups, all eligible entrepreneurs regardless of background are encouraged to apply.


Introducing Breakthrough Lab cohort

Meet the fintech companies that are part of the program.




Leslie Lewis

Paul Bryant

The Zone


Erik Poldroo

Ivan Tchatchouwo



Cyrus Sadiq

Universal Monetary Systems


Cierra Toney

Stephanie Peeks

Sheer Finance


Amir Sharif-Emami

Ahmad Eshghyar

Why we sponsor the program

Breakthrough Lab is part of a larger initiative from Bank of America to help advance economic and social progress worldwide.



How Bank of America is delivering $1.25 billion over five years

  • $350 million investment in minority-focused funds
  • $50 million to support minority MDIs and CDFIs
  • $188 million in 61 private equity funds supporting minority & women entrepreneurs
  • $13 million to Native American communities hardest hit by the coronavirus
  • $25 million to launch the Smithsonian’s “Race, Community and Our Shared Future”

Meet the leaders

Breakthrough Lab is developed and led by a diverse team of industry experts.

Rodney Gardner | Managing Director, Co-Head — GTS Social & Economic Action Council

Derrick Walton | Managing Director, Emerging Payments, Program Sponsor

Rina Arline | Managing Director, Program Director

Linda Haddad | Director, Program Coordinator

Made possible with support from