NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Pharrell Williams’ Black Ambition foundation awarded over $2.5 million to 31 different Black and Latino entrepreneurs during Williams’ 3-day Mighty Dream event this week in Norfolk.
This was in addition to other funding competitions at the event, such as the PitchBLACK contest for local Black-owned businesses in Hampton Roads.
“It is an incredible honor to award over $2.5M to our 2022 Black Ambition Prize winners,” said 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.”
Black Ambition says it has awarded $6 million to Black and Latino entrepreneurs, including those in school at historically Black colleges and universities.
The major awards were announced during the “Dinner with a Purpose” on Thursday, the final night of the event.
$1 million in funding awarded at Mighty Dream went to the grand prize winner, Pound Cake Cosmetics, a Black and Latino-owned cosmetic company made for darker skin.
“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 $250,000 second prize winner was SkiiMoo Tech, which develops prosthetics for people who suffer from lifestyle and/or anatomical restrictions of the genitals.
“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.”
There’s also a special HBCU category, with THE MOVE receiving the $200,000 grand prize. The app helps college students see all of the events happening around their school, and has features to help them stay safe when they go out.
“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 The Move founder Zachary Gilchrist.
Smaller prizes were also awarded to 28 entrepreneurs during the Demo Day on Tuesday, ranging from $15,000-$100,000 financial rewards. Here’s the full list, courtesy of Black Ambition:
- 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 customer’s inventory, picking, packing, kitting, and shipping it to e-commerce 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 handheld 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.