Recently, Black Ambition founder Pharrell Williams and CEO Felecia Hatcher announced the winners of the 2022 Black Ambition Grand Prize and HBCU Prize during the initiative’s ”Dinner with a Purpose” event at Pharrell’s MIGHTY DREAM FORUM on Thursday night. In addition to announcing the top three prize finalists, Black Ambition awarded $2.5M to 31 founders over the course of the 3-day forum. This year, Black Ambition saw a 20% increase in applications, and those applicants have generated more than $405M in revenue and raised $72M in capital to date.
“I am so honored to stand here as the CEO of Black Ambition.” said Black Ambition CEO Felecia Hatcher at the initiative’s “Dinner with a Purpose” event. “In the two years of Black Ambition, this will mark us at $6 million dollars that we’ve invested in Black, Latinx and HBCU [entrepreneurs].”
The Black Ambition Grand Prize Winner Pound Cake Cosmetics received a $1M financial award, and they are a Black and Latinx-owned cosmetics company that is revolutionizing the way color is made for darker skin. With their proprietary Tone Variant Technology™, Pound Cake launched the first-ever line of red lipsticks for different lip tones and have been awarded an Allure “Best of Beauty Award,” a Glamour Beauty Award, a special on GOOD MORNING AMERICA, and recognition from Glossier.
“For the first time in this entire journey, I have finally felt seen and heard,” said Pound Cake Founder Camille Bell. “And that’s thanks to everyone at Black Ambition. Seeing three black and brown faces staring back at me at the judges panel on Demo Day was such a surreal moment, and I don’t take that for granted. I don’t know any other programs that are out there like this one – that truly take the time and care to fully support in all facets, black and brown entrepreneurs.”
The Black Ambition Prize second place winner SkiiMoo Tech received a $250,000 financial award, and they are a company that leverages the discipline of prosthesis, technology and science to create human inspired engineered prosthetics for individuals who suffer from lifestyle and/or anatomical restrictions of the genitals. Their premiere product, The VDOM, is a prosthetic genital device that can go from flaccid to erect at the push of a button via your smartphone or smartwatch and can be worn comfortably throughout your day-to-day activities.
“To have Black Ambition see me, and see what we’re doing and get it has been a huge blessing, ” said SkiiMoo Tech Founder Glenise Kinard-Moore. “I want to say, thank you so much for what you’re doing for founders, it has such a huge impact. The resources in the last 3 to 4 months have been amazing.”
The HBCU Grand Prize Winner, THE MOVE, received a $200,000 financial award and is an app for college students that lets them see all of the events happening around their school. It also has special features that help students stay safe when going out and to help them network with their peers.
“I wasn’t connecting with my [college] campus, so with The Move App, we created an app that started a social movement, so that no one has to experience that again,” said Founder of The Move App Zachary Gilchrist.
“It is an incredible honor to award over $2.5M to our 2022 Black Ambition Prize winners,” says Felecia Hatcher, CEO of Black Ambition. “We are extremely proud of the dedication and accomplishments of each founder. They are now closer to bringing their Mighty Dream into reality, this is only the beginning for them.”
“We are so proud of all of these entrepreneurs that went through the Black Ambition Prize program, and it’s amazing to see these ideas and businesses come to life,” says Black Ambition Founder Pharrell Williams. “Black Ambition paves the way for Black and Latinx entrepreneurs to turn their Mighty Dream into a reality.”
Black Ambition kicked off the MIGHTY DREAM FORUM in Norfolk, VA earlier in the week with their annual Demo Day on November 1st where they awarded small prizes to 28 founders. Black Ambition prize winners that received financial awards ranging from $15,000-$100,000 included:
- KAZMALEJE: a company on a mission to help their customers experience better wash days by designing innovative hair tools and accessories.
- COMMUNITYx, Inc.: a company that connects like-minded changemakers around causes and calls-to-action such as petitions, donations, boycotts and more.
- Play Pits: an all-natural deodorant for children with active lifestyles
- Gildform Inc.: an all-in-one, print on-demand jewelry design and manufacturing platform that helps businesses create jewelry from concept to creation -starting with a paper napkin sketch.
- Plexus: a business and marketing intelligence software tool that helps decision makers get access to research, vet, and examine deals and partnerships that may not be on their immediate radar.
- JACQ’S Skincare: a vegan and sustainable skincare line created for women of color by women of color.
- Us in Technology: a platform and virtual community that is bridging the gap between hiring tech companies and underrepresented people.
- TaxxWiz: a company whose software allows the long, confusing, segmented 4 hour process of filing with a tax professional to be a collaboration that can now be done in as little as twenty minutes.
- DivySci Software: a DEI cloud solution that centralizes behavioral analytics to reduce communication microaggressions in teams.
- Sip & Sonder: a Black women-owned coffee house, roastery, and lifestyle brand where coffee, community, and culture connect.
- Curiosity Lab Holdings, LLC: a creative studio dedicated to fostering a more inclusive and empathetic society through products, storytelling, and experiences.
- Packdash: a Fulfillment company focused on storing our customers inventory, picking, packing, kitting, and shipping it to ecommerce DTC, wholesale, retail, or distributors.
- SWYE360 Learning: an innovative data analytics company that leverages machine learning
to aggregate return on investment and academics on all software used by students, and district employees.
- Local Civics: an education and technology company dedicated to transforming learning and civic participation for the citizens of the future.
- WAJU Water: a company that discovered how to harness the pure water found naturally in organic fruit to create an ultra-hydrating line of sparkling ready-to-drink beverages.
- Swella: a company that is standardizing and automating the hair braiding experience in our braid bars.
- Pressy: a bookings platform for people pressed for time finding help with small but special events.
- Green Regimen: a Health and Fitness company that develops natural, organic, plant-based products for Optimal Health.
- ViRvii: a company changing the way people interact with music.
HBCU prize winners that received a financial award ranging from $15,000-$100,000 included:
- EMU Gaming: a gamer-centric ecosystem where players can share content, find new friends to play with, and seamlessly communicate across any game or platform.
- Novus Security, Inc.: A Web3 browser extension built to detect and alert users of
- phishing links and fraudulent smart contracts.
- Equalizer: a med-tech that gives users the ability to use six common therapeutic modalities in a portable hand held device.
- Dinkin’ and Bangin’: a brand that will infuse black culture into pickleball.
- Allpeep, Inc.: is an embedded SaaS product for passionate brands that want to engage with their communities, learn on their own terms, and within their own spaces.
- My Gun’s Been Moved: a company providing customers with patent-pending, user friendly technology that promotes intervention and gun safety in the home.
- The Nesting Nannies: a drop-in college child care program offering student-parents convenient, affordable and professional on campus childcare services.
- Cocoa Diaries: a company that aims to create an all-inclusive resource for Black women to
help guide them through ALL stages of their collegiate careers.
- Gabb Global: The Language Learning Metaverse: a company that helps ESL students (and eventually all language learners) uncover their language learning gifts.
All 31 founders will continue to participate in a cohort-based mentorship program and will have access to over 3,000 members of the Black Ambition Network. Just throughout the MIGHTY DREAM FORUM this week, founders and finalists engaged in networking events, panels, and activations, all leading up to the announcement. Black Ambition CEO Felecia Hatcher shared many words of advice, personal stories of success and life lessons, and why Black Ambition is so important throughout several panels during the MIGHTY DREAM FORUM including the “Ignite the Mighty” panel, the “So Ambitious Dinner” hosted by Black Ambition, and the culminating “Dinner with a Purpose” event.
Black Ambition partnered with Black Girl Ventures to bring the Pull Up & Pitch Prize Competition sponsored by UPS to Mighty Dream, where they awarded $5,000-$20,000 prizes to three local entrepreneurs who pitched their ideas to a panel of judges to win funding for their business.
Black Ambition empowers Black and Latinx innovators and communities to excel uninterrupted. Founded by Pharrell Williams in 2020, ventures in consumer products and services, media and entertainment, healthcare, technology and Web 3.0 are eligible to win up to $1M. In 2021, Black Ambition completed its inaugural Prize cycle, awarding funding and resources to 34 Prize finalists, and supporting an additional 250 entrepreneurs with mentorship to strengthen their ventures. Over $3.2 million dollars were awarded to finalists, and these individuals have collectively raised over $40 million dollars since receiving a Black Ambition Prize. This endeavor has been recognized by Forbes, Essence, Complex, and many more for driving meaningful change. It also was the winner of Fast Company’s 2021 World Changing Ideas award for Impact Investing. Black Ambition is supported by funding through adidas, Billionaire Boys Club and ICECREAM in partnership with Aku, Chanel, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Jonah Peretti, Ron Conway/SV Angel, The Rockefeller Foundation, Visa Foundation, Lennar Foundation, Heineken and Moncler. For more information on Black Ambition please visit, www.blackambitionprize.com