NEW YORK — Pharrell Williams’ Black Ambition, the non-profit initiative dedicated to supporting Black and Hispanic entrepreneurs, awarded $3.2 million to 36 prize winners during its third annual “Demo Day” event here earlier this month.
One of the winners was Suds Laundry Service, which services the greater Baton Rouge, Louisiana, area. It received $75,000 as an HBCU Track Prize recipient in the Technology category.
Suds is an on-demand mobile application that allows consumers, both commercial and residential, the ability to have garments picked up, processed, cleaned, and delivered to them within 24-48 hours. The service works with Baton Rouge area laundromats and dry cleaners to facilitate the cleaning and provide them with a platform for an untapped customer base.
In the nationwide Black Ambition competition, a group of over 2,000 applicants was narrowed to 50 finalists, then condensed further to the top 36. Those businesses all received prize awards ranging from $20,000 to $200,000, then the final eight advancing finalists had the opportunity to pitch live on stage to a panel of judges for a chance to win the $1 million grand prize.
That prize was won by Expert IEP, a parent-facing app that optimizes existing Individualized Education Plans with predictive AI for children diagnosed with a disability.
The Black Ambition Prize is more than a monetary reward. In addition to mentorship, prize winners receive resources and connections to additional investors and funding. They also receive biweekly office hours with leaders in marketing, PR and brand building; attend town hall meetings with Williams; and receive life coaching and therapeutic workshops that encourage a holistic career approach.
As a producer, songwriter and performer, Williams is recognized as one of the most influential figures in hip-hop, R&B and pop music. Since he launched Black Ambition in 2020, it has awarded approximately $6 million to entrepreneurs.
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