It’s no secret that minority-owned businesses have long faced multiple barriers that make access to funding, resources, and mentorship more difficult. That’s where initiatives like Pharrell's Black Ambition come in. Founded by the legendary producer and musician, the non-profit organization awards resources and capital to HBCU students and entrepreneurs on the rise. This year, Black Ambition has teamed up with Chanel to give Black and Latinx business owners the opportunity of a lifetime.
Chanel announced the launch of a two-part learning program that aims to nurture blossoming businesses through mentorship and access to the best in the biz. The first part of the program kicks off on June 11, opening with a one-hour discussion between diverse women brimming with expertise. Dubbed “Women Who Lead” and moderated by Harper’s Bazaar editor-in-chief Samira Nasr, the talk is fittingly named “Women Who Lead” and includes CEO, producer, and Black-ish actor, Tracee Ellis Ross; CEO and co-founder of Good American, Emma Grede; co-founder of Medley, Edith Cooper; and co-founder and partner of Imaginary Ventures, Natalie Massenet.
“Historically Black and Brown women do not have a stake in what they make and aren't trained tr taught, societally, culturally, to actually have equity in the things that they build,” Tracee mentions in the chat. “Mentorship doesn't always come in the way you expect it to come. It's really about what you can extrapolate from meetings, from situations, from conferences, from the people that you just bump into? How can you put yourself in the proximity of people that are going to help you?” Emma Grede adds. “Find and surround yourself with the right people that are going to be honest about the journey. [And] if you are willing to take help, you better be willing to give it.”
A live-streamed conversation, Black Ambition finalists also get access to coveted mentoring workshops, from the one and only Chanel, to help build their brands. “To the Black Ambition community and future entrepreneurs: I can say that to each and every one of them that I know there's enough space in the world for them. Occupy space. You have come this far. Trust that there is space for you, and don't back down from your dreams,” Samira Nasr adds.
Chanel and Black Ambition in itself are a match made in heaven considering that Pharrell is no stranger to Chanel. He’s a brand ambassador, was close friends with Chanel's late creative director Karl Lagerfeld, and has collaborated with the house multiple times in the past. This program is a mind-blowing opportunity that collectively brings us one step closer to a more diverse business landscape in the future. We can all do our bit to support minority-owned businesses. In the case of Pharrell, he used his connections to one of the biggest brands in the world to help support the next generation of Black and Latinx entrepreneurs when they need it most.
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Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue