Pharrell Williams' Black Ambition Initiative Champions Young Start-Ups
The program aims to cultivate talent through mentorship and access to resources.
Pharrell Williams recently announced that applications are currently open for Black Ambition‘s HBCU prize competition. The program, co-founded by Williams and Felecia Hatcher, champions Black and Latinx entrepreneurs who are launching start-ups in various industries.
The event is organized in partnership with Chanel, adidas and the Rockefeller Foundation. Participants will be eligible to win up to $1 million USD, but the goal is not the prize money. Justin Turk, last year’s winner and the founder of Livegistics, expands on this notion: “The network, the education, the resources are so much more important than the dollars. Being part of this organization has changed the trajectory of all our lives at [the company]. Everyone who is part of this process will leave better off than they came. When 2022’s competition is over, don’t let money be the only thing you walk away with.”
Black Ambition has trained 300 talents via notable mentors such as Don Thompson, McDonald’s former CEO and BuzzFeed’s founder Jonah Peretti. With the goal of spotlighting inclusive entrepreneurship, prospective founders will go on to build ventures with an innovative spirit reminiscent of the organization. The “Happy” musician stated: “Imagine being a freshman in college and you just talked to the CEO of BuzzFeed or McDonald’s. You will walk into class on Monday with a different swagger. You will spend the weekend building your company because of that access.” He continued: “When you learn how it really works, you stop buying vehicles and you create [ones that] drive you. That’s what Black Ambition is — [here], we find you and then we fund you.”