Pharrell Williams returns to his native Virginia to award $2.5M to Black and Latinx entrepreneurs

Pharrell Williams’ Black Ambition platform is awarding $2.5 million to 31 Black and Latinx entrepreneurs during a multiday event in Virginia.

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Call it a mighty dream come true: 31 individuals with an idea for a company of some kind are about to receive a giant vote of confidence — and financial backing — from Pharrell Williams. On Tuesday, Nov. 1, Williams will announce this year’s Black Ambition prize winners during his three-day “Mighty Dream Forum,” taking place in his native Virginia.

Storytellers – Pharrell Williams With Minya Oh - 2022 Tribeca Festival
Pharrell Williams speaks onstage at the Storytellers panel discussion during the Tribeca Festival at BMCC Tribeca PAC on June 10, 2022, in New York City.
(Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Tribeca Festival )

According to a release, the career advancement forum will kick off with the announcement of 31 founders who will be awarded funding during this year’s prize cycle. The three-day event will also include panels, programming, and networking events geared toward advancing Black and Latinx entrepreneurs in a variety of fields including media and entertainment, health care, consumer products and services, tech and Web 3.0

According to Mighty Dreams’ official site, the annual gathering will also serve as a forum for thought leadership, idea exchange, and progressive conversation, as well as amazing food and entertainment experiences “where important, engaging conversations about matters of equity and opportunity are also charged with an energy unlike any other.”

Since Black Ambition’s inaugural prize cycle in 2021, the organization has seen a 20% increase in applications. For the 2022 prize cycle, Black Ambition added two additional prize verticals, “media and entertainment” and “Web 3.”

The prize’s highest-scoring applicants underwent a three-month cohort-style mentorship program which provided 249 founders with peer-to-peer learning experiences, training opportunities, and networking. To date, applicants for the 2022 Black Ambition prize have reportedly generated over $405 million in revenue and have raised $72 million in capital.

A grand prize winner will be awarded a staggering $1 million, the Black Ambition HBCU winner will receive $250,000, and additional finalists will receive awards ranging from $15,000 to $250,000. 

According to the release, winners have been determined based on “the clarity of their problem and solution, business model and customer acquisition strategies, the strength of their team, addressable market and distinctive market position and overall application.”  

“I am honored to bring Demo Day to Mighty Dream in Virginia this year,” Williams said in a statement. “We can’t wait to show some of the top business leaders of the world our prize winners and founders and how hard they have worked to bring their ideas and dreams to life. By investing in our Black and Latinx entrepreneurs, we are laying the foundation for more incredible people to have access to the resources they need to change the world.”

Tickets to Mighty Dream range from $299 to $2,500; for more information on how to attend, visit https://blackambitionprize.com/events.


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