On Tuesday in New York, Chanel hosted Pharrell Williams’ Black Ambition 2022 prize winners for an all-day mentorship workshop, bringing together the 30-plus winners for a day of knowledge-sharing, networking and leadership.
Participants heard a discussion between Williams and Chanel Inc. president and chief operating officer John Galantic, moderated by Black Ambition chief executive officer Felecia Hatcher.
“If Black and Hispanic people are going to have agency, then equality needs to be the whisper to the shout of equity,” Williams told the room. “That’s what Black Ambition is about, and this is the reason why Chanel is invested…they get it…they know it’s our time.”
The 2022 winners (who were revealed in July) are Pound Cake Cosmetics, which won the grand prize of a $1 million financial award; SkiiMoo Tech with the second place prize of $250,000 and The Move, the HBCU Grand Prize Winner, with a $200,000 award.
When asked by WWD what stood out about the winners, Williams said, “I tell Felecia Hatcher, our Black Ambition CEO, all the time that I never imagined that these would be the kind of entrepreneurs and ideas that would come out of Black Ambition. I am constantly blown away by their hard work and it really sets the framework and the blueprint for the next entrepreneurs to come through. It’s amazing how they’re able to see what’s missing in our world, and create that impactful change. Every year just gets better.”
As for the ongoing support from Chanel, Williams expressed his gratitude.
“What separates them and our other investors behind Black Ambition apart from the rest is that they don’t just show up to give advice and move on — they’re hands on and they want to be part of the change, they want to see Black and Hispanic leaders win,” Williams said. “Because of our Black Ambition network and the hands on support and mentorship from Chanel, our entrepreneurs have the opportunity to sit with and learn from some of the greatest minds who can share their experiences and give real feedback, and actually make our entrepreneurs feel supported and understood.”
During the event on Tuesday, participants joined in interactive workshops advised by Chanel leaders that focused on successfully launching and sustaining brands.