Black Ambition: Pharrell Williams’ Nonprofit Awards Millions Of Dollars To Entrepreneurs

Source: Courtesy of Black Ambition / Courtesy of Black Ambition

We love a charitable king! It’s no secret that the multi-hyphenate Pharrell Williams is quite the philanthropist. Over the years, the Grammy-award-winning talent has supported various conservation, education, fashion, and human rights causes. In fact, most fans would agree that one of his most noteworthy efforts has been the development of the non-profit initiative Black Ambition.

Inside the non-profit

Since its inception in 2020, the Black Ambition initiative has been a beacon of advancement and hope for Black and Hispanic entrepreneurs nationwide. Many entrepreneurs face various disparities — from coaching to funding struggles — that ultimately impact the evolvement of their businesses.

Pharrell and Black Ambition CEO Felicia Hatcher have flipped the script with the non-profit’s annual prize competition, Demo Day, which allows entrepreneurs to score industry connections, financial support, mentorship, and resources. Additionally, winners receive life coaching and therapeutic workshops, which help founders build confidence and improve their pitching strategies across the board.

Source: Courtesy of Black Ambition / Courtesy of Black Ambition

Black Ambition’s 2023 Demo Day

On Nov. 9, 2023, Black Ambition’s 3rd Annual Demo Day prize competition awarded entrepreneurs with over $3 million. Out of 2,000 applicants, 36 founders won prizes ranging from $20,000 to $1 million. 

Antoinette Banks, CEO and founder of Expert IEP, a parent-facing app that optimizes existing Individualized Education Plans with predictive AI for children diagnosed with a disability, took home the million-dollar prize. Rounding out the top 3 prize winners is ECOMSPACES, an e-commerce solutions company winning $250,000, and HBCU $200,000 grand prize winner, Monocle, a social e-reader designed to promote a community-based reading experience.

Expert IEP CEO and Founder Antoinette Banks shares advice

Per GBH News, Black women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S. However, many of these businesses fail to mature, mainly due to financial hardship. Antoinette shared invaluable gems with fellow Black female entrepreneurs — from grant and funding resources — to help keep their businesses afloat.

Source: Courtesy of Black Ambition

“Pursue non-dilutive funding first. There are a lot of avenues that a lot of women don’t understand. If you pursue non-dilutive funding first, then you can stand on the fact that you have traction,” Antoinette told HelloBeautiful. “It doesn’t matter what investors have to say because you have a proven track and a point of record.”

Antoinette continued, “Then, I would also say to pursue SBIR grants. People don’t know too much about that. If you put research and good work into your company, like an SBIR, that’s $250,000 straight off. And no one has access to your company. Then you can say, ‘Look, I have money, proof points, I know where I’m going. Now, it’s an opportunity for you to now be involved in what I’m doing.”

Black Ambition has awarded funding and resources to over 100 prize winners, including Dosso Beauty founder Kadija Dosso in 2021. In addition, the non-profit has supported over 5,000 founders since its inception. 

Congratulations to all the prize winners! 


Pharrell Williams’ Nonprofit Teams Up With Cisco To Bridge The Digital Divide

Norfolk State University Awards Pharrell Williams With Honorary Doctorate Degree

The post Black Ambition: Pharrell Williams’ Nonprofit Awards Millions Of Dollars To Entrepreneurs appeared first on NewsOne.

Help Stop Hate! Spread Love

Widely disseminated misinformation is extremely harmful and serves as a catalyst for hatred, violence and prejudice of every kind. This is counterproductive to the unification and strengthening of a nation. News outlets and journalists have a major responsibility to maintain a high degree of partiality and truthfulness that many Americans feel is not being honored. ADL, the Anti-Semitism Defense League is dedicated to offering impartial education on issues involving anti-Semitism to help Americans make informed decisions. A not-for-profit public service organization powered by Love, ADL provides free resources that educate society on anti-Semitism and ways to work together to combat the ancient hatred while promoting equality and prosperity for all people.

Free Download


Featured Articles

Breach of Contract and Conspiracy to Deprive of Civil Rights: An Evaluation of Potential Legal Claims and Criminal Charges Stemming from the Defamatory Social Lynching of Kyrie Irving

Basketball star Kyrie Irving captured the media’s attention when he faced allegations of anti-Semitism due to a social media post containing a link to the film, “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America.” Succumbing to external pressure, Irving removed the controversial post and offered a public apology. Nonetheless, upon further examination of the circumstances, it appears that Irving might have been criminally deprived of his rights, and could potentially possess a legal claim against his former employer for violating contractual terms.

Send Us A Message

News & Opinions