Grammy Award-winning recording artist Pharrell Williams launched a non-profit initiative on Tuesday (Dec. 1). Black Ambition is designed to support Black and Latinx entrepreneurs who are launching startups in the tech, design, healthcare, consumer products and services space.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Black Ambition is committed to leveling the business playing field and fostering the ingenuity and resilience of underrepresented entrepreneurs.
"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," Williams said in a statement. "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."
Alongside the launch of Black Ambition, Williams has announced two prize competitions for eligible founders, The Black Ambition HBCU Prize and The Black Ambition Prize, a nationwide call.
The HBCU Prize will offer a list of prizes and mentorship opportunities for current and former students as they develop seed or early-stage ideas and launch companies in tech, design, healthcare, and consumer products and services. The grand prize winner will receive up to $250,000 and at least nine additional teams will receive smaller prizes.
The Black Ambition Prize will also launch a nationwide call for applications for eligible founders to seed early-stage companies in the same categories, but the grand prize winner will receive up to $1 million.
"We need a voice and in order for us to have a voice, we have to have some ownership. We have the smallest slice of the American pie in terms of ownership," Williams said. "We would like to manifest our ambitions. We can't just say we have them. What do they look like? This is what it looks like. This is what Black Ambition looks like."
Black Ambition applications are now open until February, 18, 2021.