HAMPTON, VA. (July 15, 2021) — Hampton University alumnae Kadidja Dosso has been named the inaugural HBCU grand prize winner through Black Ambition, a contest established by Grammy Award-winning, Hampton Roads native Pharrell Williams. Dosso will receive $250,000 to support her company Dosso Beauty and Hampton University is receiving an unrestricted $75,000 grant as the HBCU affiliated with the top-scoring venture.
“It gives me great pleasure to congratulate and celebrate two Hampton alumni who have won Pharrell Williams’ “Black Ambition HBCU Prize.” This is yet another example of the high caliber of entrepreneurial talent that is cultivated here daily – at our Home by the Sea,” said Hampton University President Dr. William R. Harvey. “I am a strong believer in nurturing students who want to forge their own paths in business ownership and the Dosso Beauty Team has done just that—— led by Kadidja Dosso, CEO and founder from the class of 2017 and Oshae Moore, social strategy manager who served as our 2021 senior class president. The road to building your own enterprise is not easy, but this win is proof that if you are dedicated and willing to put in the work, the reward is great. The Black Ambition Prize is a big step toward recognizing and investing in the next wave of great minds who are products of HBCUs. I often pose the question, 'What do you call a Hampton grad in 10 years?’ The answer is ‘Boss.’
That’s a fact. Hampton is known for producing leaders and champions across a wide spectrum of disciplines — business, science, the arts, and journalism, to name a few. We are grateful to Hampton Roads native and Grammy Award winner Pharrell Williams for his commitment to the next generation of entrepreneurs—encouraging them to 'Dream No Small Dreams.’”
The Black Ambition program is aimed at students and graduates of historically Black colleges and universities and provides money to support entrepreneurs seeking solutions to the problems in their communities. Since launching in December, Black Ambition received more than 1,700 applications, and 34 finalists were selected. Other teams took home $250,000 and $100,000. All 34 finalists will receive at least $15,000.
“To me, winning the Black Ambition HBCU Inaugural Grand Prize means that I have the opportunity to inspire others to chase their dreams no matter what obstacles they face,” said Dosso. “This prize not only provides a substantial amount of funding for me to be able to scale and grow my business, but it has also afforded me the opportunity to make invaluable connections with mentors, investors, potential partners, and peers who are on the same journey of entrepreneurship as I am. Winning this grand prize is life-changing for me, my family's legacy, and my community.”
Dosso is a 2017 Hampton University graduate with a degree in business administration from the James T. George School of Business. Her company, Dosso Beauty, sells cosmetic products such as pre-stretched, hypoallergenic braiding hair, makeup bags, shampoos, and conditioners. Dosso has immediate plans to utilize the prize money as well as learn from business experts via the Black Ambition Prize mentorship program.
“Initially I plan to build the business out to truly tap into our global presence,” said Dosso. “With that, we will be procuring a warehouse, more full-time staff, fulfillment contracts, and more community outreach. Sankofa is a key Twi term (West African) that means "Reach back while climbing forward." It is pivotal that I provide opportunities for other young and budding entrepreneurs who are seeking to build a business who have no idea of where to begin nor have the resources to do so.”
‘I have connected with 5 mentors through the Black Ambition Prize network who have changed my mindset and the trajectory in which Dosso Beauty can go, thrive, and expand,” said Dosso. Each of my mentors through the program provides a different perspective and a different area of expertise. Fundamentally, all of my mentors believe in me and my dream which is most important. It's extremely important to be seen and acknowledged as a Black female owner in the majorly Korean and White male-owned industry of ethnic hair care. My mentors pour love, advice, and confidence into me while giving me the reassurance that I am walking in my purpose!”
Dosso credits Hampton University and the James T. George School of Business for instilling both the business acumen and the courage to follow her dreams.
“Hampton has prepared me structurally to understand the fundamentals of business and has built my confidence tremendously,” said Dosso. “In the School of Business, I learned how to sharpen my soft skills, to speak publicly with confidence and conviction and how to build the framework of my business. I often return to a business plan that I put together for a final project my junior year in Dr. Rose's personal finance class, entitled "Building the Dosso Organic Beauty Empire," to return to the root of why I began Dosso Beauty. I began the company to provide Black-owned organic and cruelty-free products to the world. Thanks to Dr. Ruby Beale, I was fortunate enough to participate and place high rankings in various case study competitions across the country, which attributes to my presentation skills and ability to be an effective storyteller. Reading The Art of War by Sun Tzu in Dr. Francisco Coronell's class has helped me to master the art of negotiation and how to create valuable relationships. Lastly, in the words of Dr. Ziette Hayes, I learned that my network would be my net-worth and this has been proven true time and time again.”
The Black Ambition HBCU Prize
The Black Ambition HBCU Prize taps into the vibrant and brilliant HBCU community, helping fund high potential ideas with our capital that can spark and support the next generation of successful entrepreneurs. The Black Ambition HBCU Prize contains two tracks – in one track, entrepreneurs will be eligible for up to $50,000 in funding, and in the other, entrepreneurs will be eligible for up to $250,000 in funding. Entrepreneurs in both tracks will be eligible for mentorship.
Teams must include at least one current HBCU undergraduate or graduate student (full-time or part-time), one recent alum within two years of graduation, or one former student within two years of attending the institution who is a member of the founding team. This HBCU-affiliated individual must identify as Black/African/African American and/or Hispanic/Latino/a/Latinx.
For more information on Black Ambition, competition eligibility and how to apply, please visit www.blackambitionprize.com and follow us on Facebook (@blackambitionprize), Twitter (@blackambitionpz) and Instagram (@blackambitionprize). Black Ambition is a fiscal sponsorship project of PolicyLink.
About Hampton University
For more than 150 years, Hampton University has been THE Standard of Excellence in higher education. Founded in 1868 by Brig. Gen. Samuel Chapman Armstrong, Hampton University has a long and storied history academics focused on educating the “head, heart and hand,” and emphasizing the development of character. From the sound foundation built by General Armstrong, Dr. William R. Harvey, has elevated the institution to the now globally recognized powerhouse in higher education it is today. Harvey became Hampton’s 12th and during his four decades and counting tenure, the university has experienced accelerated growth and achieved notable accomplishments.
About Dosso Beauty
At Dosso Beauty, we believe that confidence is key. There’s no better feeling than to embody your most beautiful self and we are committed to achieving that in a healthy and safe environment. How do we do that? By providing affordable organic cosmetic and personal care products that doesn't compromise the quality. By creating a line of gender-inclusive products that take the guesswork out of your beauty experience. By helping our clients navigate a highly saturated industry by offering tips on how to properly care for their skin, hair, etc. Beauty should be fun and we want to keep it that way.