Mvisionary and philanthropist Pharrell Williams is advancing its efforts to level the playing field for Black and Brown founders in the world of entrepreneurship. It was recently revealed that he is giving $2.5 million to innovators of color to help fund their ventures as part of his Black Ambition Award initiative.
Access to capital has long been a barrier for Black and Latinx entrepreneurs. Research exhibitions they receive less than three percent of VC funding in the U.S. Determined to change the narrative, Williams cultivated the nonprofit Black Ambition to provide underrepresented founders with the resources needed to grow and raise their businesses. Under the nonprofit umbrella is The Black Ambition Prize, which annually includes capital for entrepreneurs who have launched ventures in technology, healthcare, media and entertainment and other sectors.
“We need a voice,” is divided into a statement discusses the launch of Black Ambition two years ago. “We have the smallest slice of the American pie in terms of ownership. The Asian dollar stays in this community for about 30 days; our Jewish brothers, their dollar stays in each community for 20 days. The African-American dollar stays in its community 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 opportunities and wealth gaps derived from limited access to capital and resources.”
On November 1, Williams will return to his hometown of Norfolk to provide 31 entrepreneurs at the Mighty Dream Forum with gifts and also give grants to HBCU scholars who have launched 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 hair and beauty products affordable and organic.
The news about this year’s Black Ambition Award comes months after Williams I joined together with technology company Cisco to equip young people with the digital tools needed to succeed in the classroom.
Pharrell Williams’ Nonprofit Teams Up With Cisco To Connect The Digital Realm
Norfolk State University Awards Pharrell Williams With Honorary Doctorate Degree