Another day of Black excellence: Artist Pharrell Williams launches the Black Ambition Initiative | The Light Series

Singer, songwriter and record producer introduces an initiative to provide entrepreneurs of color access to capital.

Williams announced a commitment to jump-start startups launching tech, design, healthcare, consumer products and services. An initiative designed to infuse equity, Williams decided to target HBCUs and colleges servicing under-represented populations.

“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,” said Williams 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.”

Florida A&M University president, Larry Robinson tweeted. “I am pleased to announce the launch of Grammy Award winning artist @Pharrell‘s @BlackAmbitionPZ non-profit initiative to provide a launching pad to success for Black and Latinx entrepreneurs developing startups in technology, design, health care and consumer product services.”

HBCU Buzz reports that while HBCUs are a regular source of entrepreneurs, they are often underfunded and overlooked. Williams, a Black entrepreneur himself, paid it forward by introducing this initiative. His mission is to close the opportunity and wealth gap among Black and Brown entrepreneurs by investing capital and resources into early-seed companies.

| Read: Bank of America gifts Florida A&M $1 million

In order to qualify for the Black Ambition initiative, applicants must have a Black or Latinx founding team member. Currently, there are two prizes available. 

Applicants in the business concept stage that have a team member affiliated with an HBCU, are qualified for the Black Ambition HBCU Prize. This award contains two tracks. Recipients are qualified to receive up to $50,000 in funding in one track or $250,000 in the other track. As well, qualified applicants are eligible for mentorships.

Start-ups that have a minimum viable product are eligible for the Black Ambition Prize. Recipients of this award are eligible to receive up to $1 million in capital for their business. Additionally they have access to a network of founders and business leaders across sectors.

Entrepreneurs in the early business stage that have a Black or Latinx founding team member affiliated with an HBCU, are eligible for both prizes.

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