The last few weeks should make Pharrell fans very happy. The multi-hyphenate artist launched his Humanrace skincare line and released the gospel-music show “Voices of Fire” on Netflix, and now he is helping Black and Latinx entrepreneurs.
According to ESSENCE, Williams announced Black Ambition, a non-profit initiative that will support underserved entrepreneurs who are launching tech, design, healthcare, and consumer products/services startups. In addition, part of the initiative will include two competitions for investments, The Black Ambition HBCU Prize and The Black Ambition Prize.
“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,” Williams said in a statement.
He added on Instagram, “We see a future where ideas flourish, ruinous risk is diminished, and Black and Latinx entrepreneurs are positioned to realize America’s promise.”
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It’s a well-known fact that many people of color entrepreneurs lack access to resources. Yet, people of color — Blacks and Latinx — have huge spending power. To that, Willa Seldon, the senior advisor for Black Ambition and partner at Bridgespan, added, “We want to highlight the fact that it’s a huge market opportunity,” he said. “Black and Latinx folks spent $3 trillion in the marketplace. That’s a market that’s worth investing in.”
Both competitions will offer an opportunity to win prize money and mentorship for seed and early-stage ideas. For the HBCU competition, in particular, the grand prize winner will receive up to a $250,000 prize and additional teams will receive smaller prizes.
“We have the smallest slice of the American pie, in terms of ownership. The Asian dollar stays in this community for about 30 days; our Jewish brothers and sisters, their dollar stays in every community for 20 days. The African-American dollar stays in its community for six hours, because we don’t own much,” Williams said in a virtual press conference. ”We need a voice.”
Visit www.blackambitionprize.com for more information on eligibility.