Non-Profit Initiative Empowering Black & Latinx Entrepreneurs to Excel Uninterrupted Through The Black Ambition HBCU Prize and The Black Ambition Prize
(Black PR Wire) Los Angeles, CA – Black Ambition empowers Black and Latinx innovators and communities to excel uninterrupted. Founded by Pharrell Williams in 2020, the non-profit announced today that applications for its second annual prize competition are now open as of today, Tuesday, March 22, 2022 at BlackAmbitionPrize.com. Ventures in consumer products and services, media and entertainment, healthcare, technology and Web 3.0 are eligible to win up to $1M.
In 2021, Black Ambition completed its inaugural Prize cycle, awarding funding and resources to 34 Prize winners , and supporting an additional 250 entrepreneurs with mentorship to strengthen their ventures. Over $3.2 million dollars were awarded to finalists, and these individuals have collectively raised over $40 million dollars since receiving a Black Ambition Prize.
The Black Ambition Prize offers more than access to capital. It is a commitment to cultivating the pipelines of diverse talent through mentorship and access to resources, founder-friendly investment terms, and a promise to increase the number of Black and Latinx entrepreneurs who succeed at raising the startup capital needed for their businesses. The Black Ambition Network will also provide access to both proven entrepreneurs and aspiring peers towards building a community committed to building the companies of tomorrow. Black Ambition is committed to leveling the playing field and fostering the ingenuity, determination, and resilience of underrepresented entrepreneurs.
Felecia Hatcher, CEO of Black Ambition and former founder, author and advisor, states the bold question at the core of the non-profit.
“Who are you uninterrupted? And what would the world look like if nothing ever stood in the way of Black and Latinx entrepreneurs building their companies and actualizing their dreams?
The epitome of Black Ambition is creating that environment. We are building a scaffolding where whatever stood in the way before or interrupted those dreams will never stand in the way again. We are creating environments where Black and Latinx founders are never interrupted again.
In support of historically Black colleges and universities (“HBCUs”), The Black Ambition HBCU Prize will offer prizes and mentorship for current and former students at HBCUs as they develop early-stage ideas and launch companies in consumer products and services, media and entertainment, healthcare, technology and Web 3.0 . The grand prize winner will receive a $100,000 prize and at least seven additional teams will receive smaller prizes. Teams must include at least one current HBCU undergraduate or graduate student (full-time or part-time), one recent alum within two years of graduation, or one former student within two years of attending the institution who is a member of the founding team. This HBCU-affiliated individual must identify as Black/African/African American and/or Hispanic/Latino/a/Latinx.
The Black Ambition Prize will find, support, and seed early-stage companies in consumer products and services, media and entertainment, healthcare, technology and Web 3.0. Ventures must have at least one founder or co-founder that identifies as Black/African/African American and/or Hispanic/Latino/a/Latinx. The grand prize winner will receive a $1 million prize and at least six additional teams will receive smaller prizes. For both prizes, a member of the founding team is defined as having a senior role, such as VP or C-level role. The prize will launch with a nationwide call for applications from eligible founder teams. Independent application reviewers will score eligible applications on the strength of their idea, with the strongest applications advancing to the major national event.
“People who think that winning Black Ambition is about the prize money have it all wrong. The network, the education, the resources are so much more important than the dollars,” says Justin Turk, 2021 Black Ambition Prize Winner and Founder and CEO of Livegistics. “Being part of this organization has changed the trajectory of all of our lives here at Livegistics. Everyone who is part of this process will leave better off than they came. When 2022’s competition is over, don’t let money be the only thing you walk away with.”
Ventures are assessed based on a variety of factors, most important of which is the ambition of the founding team. Black Ambition is looking for those founders who are thinking big and building the world-changing companies of tomorrow. These founders will be building ventures with strong business viability and fundability, dynamic teams and a spirit of innovation and expression aligned with our founder Pharrell Williams. Finally, these businesses will be committed to transforming the landscape – in their communities, in their hiring practices and in their contribution to giving back and lifting up those around them (further outlined in the Black Ambition Founder’s Pledge that applicants take). Black Ambition Prize winners are living embodiments of our ideals and exist as ambassadors of the brand and the best of entrepreneurship.
Annually, Black Ambition will offer their namesake Prize competition including Demo Day, mentorship and access to programming for winners. Black Ambition will also offer community-level programming, events, pitch competitions and regional activations.
This endeavor has been recognized by Forbes, Essence, Complex, and many more for driving meaningful change. It also was the winner of Fast Company’s 2021 World Changing Ideas award for Impact Investing.
Founder Pharrell Williams reflects on Black Ambition –
When you realize how lucky you are to be in the constellation of the universe and when you learn how it really works, you stop buying vehicles and you create vehicles to drive you. That’s what Black Ambition is, it’s a vehicle for impact. At Black Ambition, we find you and then we fund you.
Black Ambition looks forward to meeting the entrepreneurs who are shaping the future.