Pharrell Williams Awards Black and Latinx Entrepreneurs Over $1 Million for Their Businesses
"More people of color can pursue their ventures and get what they need to thrive," said Pharrell Williams, who founded nonprofit Black Ambition
Singer and producer Pharrell Williams awarded over 30 Black and Latinx business founders at least $15,000 on Tuesday, with the grand prize winner earning $1 million.
Over 1,700 people applied for grants via Williams' nonprofit Black Ambition, which launched in 2020. Thirty-four entrepreneur finalists received at least $15,000 in addition to continued support in the form of a personal mentor, pitch coach and the introduction to over 100 investors during "Demo Day" on Tuesday.
The finalists will have access to their personal coach through August.
"We are so inspired by you and cannot wait to see how you change the world," Williams, 48, wrote on his Instagram Story about the grant winners.
Black Ambition gave the grand prize winner, founder Justin Turk of Livegistics, $1 million for his company which helps the construction industry with supportive technology. Meanwhile, HBCU grand prize winner, founder Kadidja Dosso of Dosso Beauty, received $250,000 to go toward her beauty empire.
Nine out of the 34 teams were awarded more than $100,000 from the "Happy" singer's foundation.
"These are the founders I dreamed would represent Black Ambition. Today we celebrate their determination, resourcefulness and creativity," Williams, 48, said in a press release. "Because of Black Ambition, the world will be much more equitable."
He added, "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 producer said.
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Black Ambition CEO Felecia Hatcher added, "Black and Latinx founders are the epitome of ambition, even as they are continuously met with barriers to access opportunities and funding."
"We are so proud of our finalists, and the big and bold ways they are solving problems," she said. "We are building a space where Black and Latinx founders get the unprecedented access they need to build successful ventures."