Spelman College Alumna Mya Havard Wins Pharrell Williams' $100K Black Ambition Prize
Photo Credit: Mauricio Santana

Spelman College Alumna Mya Havard Wins Pharrell Williams' $100K Black Ambition Prize

Pharrell Williams’ Black Ambition is certainly living up to its name.

A $100,000 award has reportedly been granted to Spelman alumna Mya Havard and her co-founders Ibrahim Conteh, Nashawn Chery, Faisal Gedi and Simrun Mannan from Williams’ Black Ambition. 

As AfroTech previously reported, the Black Ambition, and Black Ambition HBCU, created in 2020, partners with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to provide resources for Black and Latinx current and former HBCU students with startups in tech, design, healthcare, and consumer products or services. The initiative also provides entrepreneurs mentorship opportunities, capital gain, and pitch feedback along with prize money of up to $250,000.

“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 stated in a press release.

The funds will be allocated to support Shea.d, which supports Black dollars by providing shoppers with products owned by Black entrepreneurs. While it’s currently in its demo phase, Shea’d aims for its infrastructure to encourage users to utilize their purchasing power. 

 “Shea’d is a browser extension that finds consumer conscious (Black-owned, sustainable, American-made) alternatives to products they are currently looking for online. With Shea’d, consumers don’t have to break their existing shopping habits to be able to shop consciously,” the founders told Spelman college.

The former student trustee at Spelman served in several organizations including Spelmanities and Tiaras, Student Ambassadors, and the Louis Strokes Alliance Minority program. Havard also worked in the political science department as a research assistant.  

Upon graduating from the Historically Black College, Havard attended Stanford University to obtain a master of management science and engineering degree. She currently works as a product manager at Twitter.

The Black Ambition Prize hopes to continue supporting Black and Latinx entrepreneurs with a long-term commitment from Grammy Award-winning producer, songwriter, and philanthropist Pharrell Williams. The global nonprofit receives support from a culmination of big dollars including adidas, Chanel, and The Rockefeller Foundation.

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