Last December, Pharrell Williams launched his Black Ambition nonprofit to support Black and Latinx entrepreneurs.
“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,” he said at the time. “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.”
According to the outlet; over 1,700 entrepreneurs applied to the contest in hopes of winning funds and mentorship opportunities. Of that group, over 200 applicants won access to mentoring. The 34 finalists, meanwhile, received personal mentors, pitch coaches and were introduced to venture capitalists and investors for their businesses.
“These are the founders I dreamed would represent Black Ambition,” Pharrell said in a statement on Wednesday (July 14). “Today we celebrate their determination, resourcefulness and creativity. Because of Black Ambition, the world will be much more equitable. More people of color can pursue their ventures and get what they need to thrive. There’s been too much disparity and discrimination. Black Ambition will continue to create and push for more seats at the table, so that your talent, not your color, determines your results.”
The grand prize winner, a Detroit-based software company called Livegistics, will receive $1 million. Dosso Beauty – which specializes in cosmetics, hair and skincare – won the HBCU grand prize, which includes $250,000. Nine other businesses also won upwards of $100,000; while all 34 finalists will receive $15,000.
Pharrell added on Twitter, “Huge congratulations to [Livegistics] and [Dosso Beauty], the winners of @blackambitionpz. We are so inspired by you and cannot wait to see how you change the world.”
See his tweet below.