Mwith respect Pharrell Williams is expanding its efforts to level the playing field for Black and Brown founders in the business world. He recently announced that he is awarding $2.5 million to entrepreneurs of color to help finance their businesses as part of his Black Ambition initiative. Prize.
Access to capital has been a longstanding obstacle for Black and Latinx entrepreneurs. Research display they receive less than three percent of VC funding in the U.S. Determined to change the narrative, Williams developed the Black Ambition nonprofit to give founders the exposure they need to grow and raise their business. Under the organization’s umbrella is the Black Ambition Prize, which includes annual capital funds for entrepreneurs who have launched businesses in technology, health, media and entertainment and other areas.
“We need a voice,” he shared information discuss the launch of Black Ambition two years ago. “We have the smallest piece of the American pie in terms of ownership. The Asian dollar stays in this village for about 30 days; our Jewish brothers and sisters, their story will last in all villages for 20 days. The African-American story stays in his village for six hours because we don’t have much. With Black Ambition, the goal is to help strengthen the pipeline of talented entrepreneurs and close the gaps and wealth gaps that arise from limited access to capital and resources.
On November 1, Williams will return to his hometown of Norfolk to present to 31 entrepreneurs at the Mighty Dream Forum with benefits and also provide assistance to HBCU scholars who have started businesses. Past winners include the company Livegistics—which uses technology to streamline processes in the construction industry—and Dosso Beauty, a company created by an HBCU student that provides affordable and accessible hair and beauty products.
News about this year’s Black Ambition Prize comes months after Williams once partnered with technology company Cisco to equip youth with the digital tools they need to thrive in the classroom.
Nonprofit Pharrell Williams teams with Cisco to bridge the digital divide
Norfolk State University Pharrell Williams Award and Doctorate Award