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Pharrell’s new initiative targets entrepreneurs often overlooked.Photo: mondosonoro.com
Pharrell’s new initiative targets entrepreneurs often overlooked. Photo: mondosonoro.com

Pharrell’s Black Ambition nonprofit is a bridge for Black and Latinx entrepreneurs

Pharrell does it all, including offering much-needed support and guidance to Black and Latinx entrepreneurs.

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Pharrell Williams is an entrepreneur at heart in addition to being a producer, a rapper, and owner of the clothing brand, Billionaire Boys Club. But he is also no stranger to charity and incentivizing people to be the best they can be. 

On Dec. 2, Pharrell announced he is launching a new initiative — a nonprofit called Black Ambition that aims to support Black and Latinx entrepreneurs who are interested or already in the midst of launching tech, design, healthcare, consumer products, or services startups. 

"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," Pharrell said in a press release announcing Black Ambition’s creation.

Part of Black Ambition’s launch will feature two grand prize competitions. The Black Ambition HBCU Prize and Black Ambition Prize. They will both be awarded in July 2021 in a competition that will bring the best Black and Latinx entrepreneurs from across the country. 

The initiative is in collaboration with Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The grand prizes additionally offer mentorship for both alumni and alumnae at HBCUs while they develop their ideas. The grand prize winner will be awarded up to $250,000 and a minimum of nine or more groups will be awarded smaller prizes. 

Those participating must be full or part-time undergraduate or graduate students at an HBCU. They must also identify as Black/African/African American and/or Hispanic/Latino/a/Latinx. At least one of the founders of the start ups must also identify as the aforementioned. 

In the future, the nonprofit initiative looks to make inclusive entrepreneurship the new normal. It is led by a stacked advisory team that includes Pharrell himself, and support from The Bridgespan Group, a global nonprofit organization that counsels mission organizations, nonprofits, and more. 

Virgil Abloh, the artist, designer, and philanthropist, is also involved with the initiative and helped create the logo for Black Ambition.

Black Ambition’s  funding comes from a number of big companies and organizations including Adidas, Chanel, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, The Rockefeller Foundation, Tony’s Chocolonely and the Visa Foundation. 

Individual donors include Ron Conway/SV Angel and Jonah Peretti.

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