Pharrell and Chanel Team Up For New Black Ambition Program

The musician’s non-profit and the Maison are launching a mentorship program to support Black and Latinx entrepreneurs.

Pharrell Williams, one of Chanel’s House ambassadors, is expanding his partnership with the label through his non-profit, Black Ambition, which is dedicated to supporting and nurturing startups founded by Black and Latinx entrepreneurs. The French fashion house has announced a two-part mentorship program that will assist emerging talents to navigate the business world. 

Black Ambition is sponsoring two competitions this summer: the Black Ambition HBCU Prize, which will provide current and former HBCU students with awards and mentorship to support the development of their businesses, and the Black Ambition Prize, which was created to help early-stage tech, design, health care, and customer-focused products and services companies. The Black Ambition Prize winner will be awarded up to $1 million in financial support. 

The first part of the Chanel-Black Ambition partnership was “Women Who Lead,” a panel discussion with a group of industry experts who are behind successful businesses and are also providing career guidance so others can build fruitful enterprises themselves too. The panel was exclusively available to Black Ambition Prize contenders and featured entrepreneur and Black-ish actor Tracee Ellis Ross, Imaginary Ventures co-founder and partner Natalie Massenet, Medley co-founder Edith Cooper, and the co-founder of the body-positive brand Good American, Emma Grede. 

The second step of the initiative will be a series of mentoring workshops that will guide prize finalists with business-building skills, adapted to their personal needs and realities. This part of the program will also teach important topics and fundamental practices for launching and maintaining a brand. Participants will have the opportunity to connect with Chanel’s leadership community and some of the label’s professionals. 

“I’ve had many mentors. I learned from their successes as much as I learned from their failures,” Williams says in a promotional video. “And one of the most important things I learned is that their losses are more so lessons. Just teaches you what you shouldn’t do, that’s just as important as what you should do.”

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