Pharrell’s ‘Black Ambition’ Fund Grants $3.2M To 36 Founders Of Color


Image of Felecia Hatcher, CEO of Black Ambition, Leo Creer, Co-Founder and CTO of Expert IEP, Grand Prize Winner Antoinette Banks, CEO and Founder of Expert IEP, and Pharrell Williams, Founder of Black Ambition (from left to right)

Pharrell Williams’ non-profit initiative Black Ambition, is making the dreams of Black entrepreneurs come true.

It recently held its 2023 Prize competition at the third-annual “Demo Day” event, an official convening of the finalists out of a applicant pool of 2,000 founders aiming to scale their world-changing businesses in varying industries including Products and Services, Healthcare, Media and Entertainment, Technology, and Web 3.0. For 2023’s Demo Day, finalists were narrowed to the 36 candidates that were anywhere from $20,000 – $250,000. The Grand Prize Winner, Antoinette Banks, CEO and Founder of Expert IEP, was given $1,000,000.

“Black Ambition is a feeling, it’s an overwhelming drive to show up consistently in excellence to create lasting, unapologetic impact,” Banks said. “For so long Black and Brown kids with learning differences have been underestimated and forgotten. Earning this $1M prize puts our kids back in the forefront, it gets people thinking deeply about solving the problems in special education. AsFounder and CEO, I am deeply grateful to Black Ambition for believing in me, holding space for me, and breaking down barriers. It’s clear that Black Ambition is more than a prize award, it’s a shift in expectation for our culture.”

Participating sponsors include Louis Vuitton, Adidas, Valor Equity Partners, and Spring Studios.

“We are immensely proud to be supporting an initiative like Black Ambition and hosting the teams and entrepreneurs over the past two days at Spring Studios New York,” Giuseppe Stigliano Global CEO Spring Studios. “As a creative business committed to advancement in culture and enterprise, we share common goals of championing ambition and innovation and building a more diverse community. We very much look forward to continuing the support and growing the partnership in the future.”

To date, Black Ambition has awarded approximately $10M dollars has been awarded to finalists since its launch in 2020.

“Demo Day is a powerful testament to the transformative potential of the Black Ambition Prize,” said Felecia Hatcher, CEO of Black Ambition. “The support of our brand partners, like Louis Vuitton, Adidas, Valor Equity Partners, and Spring Studios, as well as the dedication of our esteemed judges, underscores our commitment to nurturing Black and Hispanic entrepreneurs. Our impact, illustrated by the 36 top finalists, is a testament to the tangible change we’re creating for underserved communities. We’re proud to announce this year’s winners and to celebrate the remarkable journey of Black Ambition.”

As a part of their winnings, the awardees will also receive bi-weekly office hours with leaders in marketing, PR, and brand building with global brands per a news release.


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