Back in 2022, Felecia Hatcher shared with AfroTech that the 2023 Black Ambition Prize was on its way.

Now, she and Pharrell Williams’ nonprofit initiative has returned with not only the prize competition but also a new program for Black and brown entrepreneurs.

On March 1, Black Ambition announced that applications for the third annual Black Ambition Prize competition are now open until May 8, according to a press release shared with AfroTech.

The grand prize winner will receive $1 million, and at least 15 additional teams will receive prize awards of $15,000 to $250,000.  

The press release detailed that Black Ambition has awarded funding and resources to 65 prize winners — totaling $6 million.

Courtesy of Black Ambition

“We’ve accomplished so much in such a short time, and it’s been amazing to see our impact so far. Every year just gets better,” Williams said in a press statement. “It’s not just about creating space for our Black, Hispanic and HBCU entrepreneurs, it’s about equity, it’s about giving them the tools, resources and hands-on mentorship to excel uninterrupted. I am constantly blown away by the ideas and businesses that our applicants have developed and created.”

What’s more, finalists receive guidance from top-tier mentors to support their ventures.

“As we approach year three of the Black Ambition Prize, we continue to build on our legacy of supporting and empowering Black and Hispanic entrepreneurs to achieve unparalleled success,” Hatcher said in a press release. “This year presents even greater urgency with reports showing a drastic decline in funding for diverse founders in the venture space.  The work that we’re doing is more important than ever. This year’s Prize is designed to provide a plethora of resources and opportunities to Black, Hispanic, and HBCU founders, allowing them to transform their innovative ideas into successful and impactful businesses.”

To be eligible, participants must:

-Have or aspire to achieve a national or global business reach for their product and/or service

-Have at least one founder or co-founder that identifies as Black/African/African American and/or Hispanic/Latino/a/Latinx

-Have a member of the founding team that is defined as having a senior role, such as a VP or C-level role

Additionally, Black Ambition will provide HBCU students and alumni with the opportunity to win an HBCU Prize. The grand prize winner is set to receive up to $200,000.

To be eligible, teams must have:

-At least one current HBCU undergraduate or graduate student (full-time or part-time)

-One recent alum within five years of graduation or one former student within five years of attending the institution who is a member of the founding team

-An HBCU-affiliated individual that identifies as Black/African/African American and/or Hispanic/Latino/a/Latinx

In addition to the prize competition, Black Ambition has launched an HBCU pre-accelerator program. The press release detailed that Black Ambition is co-sponsoring an eight-week So Ambitious HBCU Pre-Accelerator Program, launched in partnership with 3 Day Startup and Cinematica Labs.

Applications open on March 1 and close on March 20 for the accelerator program.

To learn more, click here.