Culture

Pharrell Creates New ‘Black Ambition’ Initiative To Fund Entrepreneurs From HBCUs

Pharrell Creates New ‘Black Ambition’ Initiative To Fund Entrepreneurs From HBCUs

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Several Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are endorsing artist Pharrell Williams’ new “Black Ambition” entrepreneur initiative, HBCU connect reports.

Williams recently launched the endeavor to create a professional pipeline for Black and Latinx entrepreneurs building startup companies in tech, design, health care, and consumer product services. The goal of the initiative is to put capital behind the startups to “combat the long-standing barriers to success” faced by people of color. 

The program boasts two prize competitions, the Black Ambition HBCU Prize and the Black Ambition Prize, offering participants mentorship and money. Teams must have at least one current HBCU student that identifies as Black or Latinx and one recent alum that has graduated within two years. The Black Ambition HBCU competition has a grand prize of up to $250,000, and the Black Ambition Prize has a grand prize of up to $1 million, with both offering a variety of smaller prizes as well. 

Norfolk State University and Florida A&M University (FAMU) have already thrown their support behind the daring initiative, with FAMU President Larry Robinson welcoming the competition to his campus. 

“We are ready for this initiative. We have a long history of entrepreneurship at Florida A&M University. This is the right place,” President Robinson said.  

The competitions are slated for summer 2021, with teams presenting in front of judges and investors for prizes, funding, mentorship and feedback. Applications are currently open and must be submitted by February 18, 2021. 

“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. 

To learn more about the “Black Ambition” initiative and how to apply, visit www.blackambitionprize.com.

Photo Courtesy of Getty/Amy Sussman/FilmMagic