Editorial note: This article on Kadidja Dosso was originally published on July 27, 2021, and updated to reflect current information.

Black girl magic strikes yet again! Congratulations are in order for beauty entrepreneur, Kadidja Dosso, winner of the Black Ambition HBCU contest. As a result, Dosso was awarded a quarter of a million dollars by Pharrell Williams and the team at Black Ambition.

What is Black Ambition?

In 2020, musician Pharrell Williams launched Black Ambition, a non-profit initiative. Its mission is to increase wealth and opportunity in underprivileged Black and Brown communities through entrepreneurship. The program provides access to growth capital, pitch feedback, and mentorship to Black and Brown business owners.

The initiative awards prizes to the winners of its HBCU contest to help with their business endeavors. And every year, Black and Brown entrepreneurs enter the competition in hopes of becoming the next winner.

In 2021, Kadidja Dosso was crowned the winner of the Black Ambition HBCU Contest Prize. As the winner, she received $250,000 to jumpstart her beauty company, Dosso Beauty.

Black Women Entrepreneurs

Studies show that Kadidja Dosso is part of the 17 percent of Black women business owners, making them the fastest growing demographic of entrepreneurs in America.

However even though Black women are pushing past societal boundaries, they still face many challenges along the way. According to Entrepreneur, racial and gender biases often put Black women at a disadvantage. Furthermore, a lack of representation, mentorship, and access to resources makes becoming a Black business owner even harder.

How Kadidja Dosso Won the Money

It is without a doubt that Black women entrepreneurs are a cut above the rest. Whether it’s trying to navigate a lucrative corporate industry or make way in a competitive beauty realm, Kadidja Dosso is making her mark on the world. Additionally, she’s inspiring Black women to take charge of their destinies regardless of the naysayers. And by challenging the status quo, she and other Black businesses are breaking barriers and building communities. Take a look at how beauty entrepreneur, Kadidja Dosso, won $250,000 in an HBCU contest, thanks to Pharrell Williams:


Kadidja Dosso Saw a Need and Filled It


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A post shared by Dosso Beauty (@dossobeauty)

Dosso reveals that her reasoning for starting Dosso Beauty stemmed from a lack of clean, healthy beauty products for people of color. She noticed that many of the products sold in stores were laden with harmful chemicals, so she decided to do something about it.

Citing Madam CJ Walker as inspiration, Kadidja Dosso set out to create organic, affordable hair and body care for people of color. As a result, she started Dosso Beauty, an inclusive cosmetics and personal care brand that specializes in organic, nourishing products.


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A post shared by Dosso Beauty (@dossobeauty)

And since then, the company has been featured in a number of major publications, including Yahoo!, British Vogue, and HelloBeautiful.


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A post shared by Dosso Beauty (@dossobeauty)


She Upholds Her Roots

Dosso graduated from Hampton U, a historically black college in Hampton, Virginia, back in 2017. The Hampton alum never imagined an opportunity that would change the trajectory of her beauty business, as well as being a beacon of hope for others to dream big and always aim high.

So after winning a $250,000 grand prize in Pharrell William’s Black Ambition HBCU contest, it’s no surprise that Dosso had big plans for her the future. Of course, that included her beauty company. But she also wished to secure $75,000 of her winnings to give back to her Alma Mater, Hampton University.


Kadidja Dosso Stands Up For the Black Community


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A post shared by Dosso Beauty (@dossobeauty)


In her interview, Dosso calls out the disparity in funding for Black businesses. “It’s no secret that there are a disproportionate amount of resources when it comes to a lack of access to funding for Black people and people of color. We have a lack of resources by default compared to our counterparts.”

She adds, “This access to funding will help to literally provide me, my family, my employees, and my school with a new lens, and a new opportunity.”

Dosso also describes why funding is important for transforming the Black community. She says, “Funding like Black Ambition’s HBCU grand prize, will help to increase jobs, access to resources, and will create generational wealth. This is how we give back to our communities.”


She’s a Natural-Born Leader

Kadidja Dosso won the Black Ambition HBCU Contest, alongside the team at Livegistics, a Black-owned software company.

In a statement to WAVY10, Pharrell Williams shared why Black Ambition chose the two grand prize winners of the contest.

“These are the founders I dreamed would represent Black Ambition,” he says. “Today we celebrate their determination, resourcefulness, and creativity. Because of Black Ambition, the world will be much more equitable. More people of color can pursue their ventures and get what they need to thrive. There’s been too much disparity and discrimination. Black Ambition will continue to create and push for more seats at the table, so that your talent, not your color, determines your results.”


She Doesn’t Give Up


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A post shared by Dosso Beauty (@dossobeauty)

For Dosso, navigating a lucrative beauty industry is a result of her drive and passion for fulfilling her destiny. Over a phone call, she recalls the many times where she’s been cast aside, and how she’s had to overcome the naysayers’ opinions about breaking ground in a beauty realm that was not made for Black women and women of color to succeed.

“I’ve been told no so many times in my life, while being questioned by men who often talk about me being in an oversaturated industry. I’ve always been the type of person to have confidence in myself and to know what my purpose is. She continued, “No matter what others say, I’ve always been a believer that I can change the world and that I can make people feel beautiful around the world with my products, with my words, and with my story.”