Rapper-turned-businessman Chamillionaire is on a mission to empower entrepreneurs of color. According to CNBC, the music artist—whose real name is Hakeem Seriki—has launched a venture capital competition to support startups founded by Black innovators and women entrepreneurs.
The contest is being run through his app Convoz; a platform designed to “connect the world through collaborative conversations.” He will invest $100,000 into the pitch competition winner’s business. Seriki has enlisted businessman and investor Daymond John and rapper and entrepreneur E-40 to select a founder to invest in.
“When people say they can’t find African-American startups to invest in, it just sounds a little crazy to me,” he told the news outlet. “At one point I was getting 30 candidates a month, but when I said I only wanted to invest in women or minorities I started getting just two candidates a month.” Seriki—who has invested in over 40 startups—added that he’s cognizant of the racial and gender disparities that exist when it comes to securing venture capital and wants to use this contest and other initiatives to create pathways for underrepresented entrepreneurs. The pitch competition launched on November 11 and will run through December 6. Those interested in entering the competition can participate through his app.
This isn’t the first time that Chamillionaire has invested in Black entrepreneurship. He organized a start-up competition along with E-40 in June where the two invested $25,000 in a minority or women-owned business. Several hip-hop artists are stepping up and investing in Black entrepreneurs. Earlier this year Jay-Z invested $1 million in a Black-owned vegan cookie company.