Over 1,700 people applied for grants from the ‘Happy’ singer’s non-profit organisation Black Ambition and 34 finalists received money, as well as support in the form of a personal mentor, pitch coach, and the introduction to more than 100 investors during a Demo Day event on Tuesday (13.07.21).
Pharrell wrote on his Instagram story: “We are so inspired by you and cannot wait to see how you change the world.”
Nine of the 34 finalists received over $100, 000 and the grand prize winner, Justin Turk of Livegistics – which offers supportive technology to the construction industry – received $1 million for his company, while Kadija Dosso was the recipient of the HBCU grand prize and was awarded $250,000 for her Dosso Beauty business.
Pharrell praised all the finalists, who will be mentored throughout August by their personal coaches, for their “determination, resourcefullness and creativity”.
He said: “These are the founders I dreamed would represent Black Ambition. Today we celebrate their determination, resourcefulness and creativity.
“Because of Black Ambition, the world will be much more equitable.
“More people of coloir 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 colour, determines your results.”
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.
“We are building a space where Black and Latinx founders get the unprecedented access they need to build successful ventures.”