DC Startup Week 2020 DC Startup Week 2020
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Gaining Access - Taking Your Seat at the Table

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Aaron Saunders
Inclusive Innovation Incubator (IN3), CEO

Aaron is the CEO of Inclusive Innovation Incubator (IN3) — an innovation space focused on supporting high potential Black and underrepresented technologist entrepreneurs and creatives through programs, services and space. Aaron is also the CEO of Clearly Innovative Inc, a web and mobile development firm he started 10 years ago in the district, and the mobile partner for National Museum of African American History and Culture. He has over 25 years experience in the tech, innovation and entrepreneurs space.

Aaron has a MBA from New York University, Stern School of Business.

Dawn Myers
The Most, Founder and CEO

Dawn Myers is founder at THE MOST and Director at The Vinetta Project, a 501c3 dedicated to moving the ball forward for women in tech. She started THE MOST to make products to meet the nuanced needs of women of color, but engineering and manufacturing tech enabled hardware takes an incredible amount of capital and training. Dawn had to get creative to raise funds to surmount the heightened barriers to entry for minorities in this space and quickly found herself advising and coaching other women on how to work what they have to get what they need. Along the way, she acquired a passion for helping women of color learn and grow in entrepreneurship. A JD and graduate Dartmouth's Business Bridge Program, she is committed to creating quality programming for Black women founders, the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurs in the US, as well other underrepresented founders striving to innovate for their communities.

Ehime Eigbe-Akindele
SweetKiwi, CEO

Ehime is a dairy explorer and entrepreneur. A pioneer of frozen yogurt in the African market. She started making her own frozen yogurt when she realized most available brands weren’t as healthy as they claimed and created her clean-label recipe which brought about the birth of Sweetkiwi in 2011. This journey took her from Texas to Nigeria, where she opened 3 physical store locations. She has created flavours for and led partnerships with many exciting brands such as Moet & Chandon, Pepsi, Guinness, Baileys to name a few. She has catered major concerts for Pepsi, serving over 3000 people. In 2007, Ehime moved to the DC area and was accepted into the Union Kitchen food accelerator to launch her delicious Whipped Greek Yogurt in grocery stores. Ehime is aGoldman Sachs 10,000 Women scholar and holds a degree in Business Information Technology and International Studies from London MetropolitanUniversity. She also completed the Entrepreneur Management program at the Enterprise Development Centre of Pan African University, Lagos. She has certifications for Cultured Dairy and Ice cream production from Penn State University. She is a British Council Alumni Awards Finalist, an inspirational speaker, a contributor for Business Day ‘The Spark’ magazine and was named one of Nigeria’s 100 most inspiring women. As Founder and Creative Director of Sweetkiwi, Ehime is passionate about creating inspired flavours reminiscent of foods that inspire her from all over the world and delivering an unforgettable experience in a pint.

Rashad Howard
Epigen Technology, Investor and CFO

Rashad Howard is an Entrepreneur, Investor, and Change Agent with a serious commitment to using business as his activism - a means of creating and building self-determination, financial, and psychological freedom in the community. His passion for entrepreneurship is bookended with his “issues with authority” and an intense aversion to spending his life doing the exact same thing every day...forever. Thus, he has been led to start businesses in diverse industries...many of which seem on the surface to have little to do with the other. His business interests have been in Management Consulting, Government Contracting, Marketing & Consumer Engagement, Software Development & Gamification, Executive Coaching, Debt Purchasing & Finance, Logistics, and a few other hobby-turned-side-hustle endeavors. He has thrown larger sums of cash than he’d like to admit at a few failed investments that promised “revolutionary” upside, while conversely seeing some significant returns from some of the most mundane endeavors. Rashad is uniquely talented at helping his clients and partners leverage far outside-the-box methods to channel innovations using the power of association: marrying imagination with research; organizational creativity with best practices; inspiration with deliberation; and all for the purpose of bringing elegant solutions to incredibly complex problems.

Rashad believes that inspiration can strike at any time, and so he still takes his beat machine in his backpack everywhere he travels, along with his leather journal filled with pages full of rap verses; notes from client meetings; new ideas; and love letters to himself full of positive affirmations to stay centered in such a competitive entrepreneurial landscape.

His varied skill-set includes Strategic Planning, Portfolio and Program Management, Innovation Research & Development, Business Process Reengineering, Organizational Design and Execution, Software Product Design & Implementation, Culture & Change Management, Beat Making, and 16 Bars of Lyrical Heat. Other skills include making grilled cheese sandwiches for his two children Ethan and Naima; buying expensive handbags for his wife Markëta; and music production in his basement recording studio. If money and talent were no object, Rashad would be a legendary Hip-Hop star with more platinum hits than Jay-Z, Drake, and Kendrick Lamar combined.

Rashad has a Bachelor of Science in English from the United States Air Force Academy and an MBA from the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech.

Roble Musse
Un-Silicon Valley, Author

Roble Musse is a serial entrepreneur and author of the book “Un-Silicon Valley.” He is currently the CEO of Transalytics, a RegTech startup based in Seattle. Roble has previously worked for Microsoft and KPMG Consulting. Mr. Musse’s current research interest is in exploring funding models and support services tailored for startups pursuing an Un-Silicon Valley path. Roble is also the founder of The Right To Be Banked campaign, which is advocating for financial inclusion laws in Washington State.

Building a successful business is hard. It’s especially difficult when you have no access to capital and no inside information on how to get it. Confidence and “hustle” alone won’t bring you success. Taking your seat at the table often requires humility, the willingness to accept guidance from those who have been there before you. Our esteemed panel of entrepreneurs and investors share insights that have helped drive successful outcomes for themselves and the founders they mentor.