From launching music education programs to providing high school students from underserved communities with scholarships, musical genius Pharrell Williams has been dedicated to empowering youth through an array of education-focused initiatives. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Virginia native’s latest effort is centered on providing youngsters with the tools needed to launch their own businesses.
The initiative—dubbed “Your Voice is Power”—is a collaborative effort being led by Williams, Amazon and the Georgia Institute of Technology. The project was created to help middle and high school students, who aspire to launch socially-conscious businesses, bring their entrepreneurial dreams to fruition. The creators of the initiative aim to eliminate the socio-economic barriers that stand in the way of STEAM education and increase representation in the field. Through “Your Voice is Power” students will utilize the EarSketch platform to code a remix of Williams and Jay-Z’s song “Entrepreneur;” an ode to Black business owners. The challenge was designed to merge the arts, computer science and entrepreneurship. The students who win the competition will receive $5,000 scholarships or grants to start their own companies and five instructors will receive $1,000.
“Teaching kids future-ready skills like coding, especially those kids for whom opportunities like this have not been equally distributed, is how we prepare the next generation of entrepreneurs,” Williams said in a statement, according to the news outlet.
News about “Your Voice is Power” comes nearly two months after Williams unveiled a nonprofit dubbed Black Ambition which was launched to support Black and brown entrepreneurs who have businesses in health care, tech, design and consumer products. “With Black Ambition, the goal is to help strengthen the pipeline of talented entrepreneurs and close the opportunity and wealth gaps derived from limited access to capital and resources,” Williams told Billboard.