Pharrell Williams has a plan to close the opportunity and wealth gap in America. He recently launched a non-profit initiative, Black Ambition. The companies main initiative is to invest capital and resources in high-growth startups founded by Black and Latinx entrepreneurs. Members of the non-profits advisory team also include Bridgespan Group and Virgil Abloh.
“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.”
The company will be partnering with Adidas, Chanel, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, The Rockefeller Foundation, Tony’s Chocolonely, and the Visa Foundation. Williams announced two competitions. Applicants must identify as Black/African/African American and/or Hispanic/Latino/a/Latinx. Applicants must be a member of the founding team or hold a senior role. For each competition, at least ten winners will be chosen.
The Black Ambition HBCU Prize is for current and former students at HBCUs.The grand prize winner will receive up to $250,000. To be eligible, each team must include at least one current HBCU undergraduate or graduate student, one recent alum within two years of graduation, or one former student within two years of attending the institution who is a member of the founding team.
The Black Ambition Prize is for start-up companies. The grand prize winner will receive up to a $1 million prize.
The entrepreneurs chosen will receive mentorship, media exposure, and introductions to venture capitalists, angel investors, and accelerator partners.