Pharrell Williams recently announced the launch of Black Ambition, a non-profit initiative that will provide a bridge to success for Black and Latinx entrepreneurs who are launching tech, design, healthcare, and consumer products/services start-ups. According to a press release, Black Ambition is committed to helping level the playing field and fostering the ingenuity, determination, and resilience of underrepresented entrepreneurs. Its long-term vision is for inclusive entrepreneurship to be the new normal.
Williams announced two prize competitions – The Black Ambition HBCU Prize and The Black Ambition Prize – as part of the launch, which culminate in one major national event.
“Recent events and tragedies have illustrated the always existent stark divisions in the American experience, and while entrepreneurship has long been a tenet of the American dream, marginalized people have faced long-standing barriers to success,” said Pharrell Williams. “With Black Ambition, the goal is to help strengthen the pipeline of talented entrepreneurs and close the opportunity and wealth gaps derived from limited access to capital and resources.”
In partnership with historically Black colleges and universities (“HBCUs”), The Black Ambition HBCU Prize will offer prizes and mentorship for current and former students at HBCUs as they develop seed or early-stage ideas and launch companies in tech, design, healthcare, and consumer products and services. The grand prize winner will receive up to a $250,000 prize. At least nine additional teams will receive smaller prizes.
The Black Ambition Prize will find, support, and seed early-stage companies in tech, design, healthcare, and consumer products and services. The grand prize winner will receive up to a $1 million prize. At least nine additional teams will receive smaller prizes. The strongest applications will advance to the major national event through scores given by independent application reviewers.
In July 2021, the two competitions will culminate in teams competing for these prizes by presenting to luminary judges and investors. The entrepreneurs will receive mentorship and feedback as well as access to peer networks, online resources, expert connections, and more.
The start-up non-profit initiative will be led by an all-star advisory team that includes Grammy Award-winning recording artist, producer, songwriter, entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist Pharrell Williams, with support from The Bridgespan Group, a global nonprofit organization that advises mission-driven organizations, nonprofits, philanthropists and impact investors.
Black Ambition is supported by funding from Adidas, Chanel, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, The Rockefeller Foundation, Tony’s Chocolonely and the Visa Foundation. Individual donors include Ron Conway/SV Angel and Jonah Peretti.
For more information on Black Ambition, competition eligibility, and how to apply, please visit www.blackambitionprize.com.
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