Pharrell Williams’s newly launched Black Ambition initiative has teamed up with Chanel to give Black and Latino entrepreneurs new access and opportunity. They’ve unveiled a two-part program aimed at shining a light on emerging talent from HBCU (historically Black colleges ad universities).
“Chanel’s support of Black Ambition is a cornerstone of Black Ambition’s mission and is vital to the success of the next generation of Black and Latinx entrepreneurs,” said Williams, “to honor their commitment to investing in human potential and advancing greater representation in culture and society, Chanel has put together an amazing panel of women to talk about leadership through a woman’s lens.”
The first part of the initiative brings together an incredible group of experts for a panel discussion providing Black Ambition prize contenders with career guidance. In a conversation entitled Women Who Lead, Tracee Ellis Ross, Edith Cooper, Emma Grede, and Natalie Massenet gathered to discuss leadership, determination, drive, resilience, and community.
The second pillar of the program focuses on a “comprehensive mentorship program,” which Williams says is one of the biggest challenges for winners of prizes like this one. ”You may have a great business idea” he told Vanity Fair “but that doesn’t mean you know how to run a business.” The workshops will give the finalists unprecedented access to Chanel’s leadership community. They’ll also have access to the brand’s network of experts, who will provide them with the essentials of brand-building skills for today’s business landscape.
That’s not the only moves he’s making to level the playing field. Williams has also announced that he will be opening a private school for children from low-income households in his home state of Virginia.
“If the system is fixed and unfair, then it needs to be broken,” Williams said in a press release of the project, which will see winners chosen by lottery and is open to third, fourth, and fifth graders.
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