Tuesday (Dec. 1), Grammy award-winning artist Pharrell Williams launched Black Ambition, a non-profit designed to aid Black and Latinx entrepreneurs with startups in tech, design, healthcare, consumer products, and service space.
The initiative’s focus is even the playing field for underrepresented entrepreneurs.
“Recent events and tragedies have illustrated the ways 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,” Williams said in a statement. “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.”
As part of the launch, the artist announced a two prize competitions; The Black Ambition HBCU Prize and The Black Ambition Prize.
The HBCU Prize is for current or former HBCU students and offers various forms of mentorship and prizes during the early-stage ideas and launch companies in tech, design, healthcare, consumer products and services. The grand prize winner with receive a total of $250,000. Additionally, at least nine other teams will receive smaller cash prizes.
In order to be eligible for the Black Ambition competition, ventures have to have at least one founder or co-founder that identities as Black/African American and or Hispanic/Latinx. The grand prize is $1 million. There will be an additional nine smaller prizes for other teams.
“We need a voice and in order for us to have a voice, we have to have some ownership. We have the smallest slice of the American pie in terms of ownership,” Williams said, explaining how Black Ambition will foster inclusivity in entrepreneurship. “We would like to manifest our ambitions. We can’t just say we have them. What do they look like? This is what it looks like. This is what Black Ambition looks like.”
One of Williams main goals of Black Ambition is to connect HBCU’s. “We have to support our Black institutions. They have done so much for us. Even if I didn’t go myself, I’ve seen the wonders that genius educators impart on those students.”
Black Ambition applications are open now, until February 18th, 2021. Click here to apply!