Black Ambition, Pharrell Williams’ non-profit, has announced the launch of its third annual prize competition to spotlight aspiring Black and Hispanic creatives as well as an HBCU Accelerator initiative.
Partnering with Adidas, Lennar Foundation, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Visa Foundation, Heineken and Chanel, the competition seeks to “provide mentorship, resources, connections” as well as up to $3 million in prize awards to aspiring creatives in the industries of “media and entertainment, healthcare, technology and Web 3.0 industries.”
Eligible applicants must have a product or service that they want to expand upon and have at least one founder who is Black or Hispanic Black/African/African American and/or Hispanic/Latino/a/Latinx—as a founding team member with a defined senior role. The winner of the grand prize will receive a $1 million prize; fifteen additional teams will receive prize awards from $15K-$250K.
Additionally, Black Ambition is sponsoring the 8-week So Ambitious HBCU Pre-Accelerate Program which will select 100 HBCU students to enter the Black Ambition Prize competition.
Pharrell shared in an official statement why it's important to invest in up-and-coming entrepreneurs of color and HBCU students.
"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," said Pharrell. "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."
Felecia Hatcher, CEO of Black Ambition, added, "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. 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."
Since its initial launch in 2020, the Black Ambition Prize has awarded over $6 million to 65 entrepreneurs.
Applications for the programs are being accepted from March 1, 2023 to May 8, 2023.