Hampton University Students Participate in 3-Day Entrepreneurship Boot Camp Sponsored by Ferguson and Pharrell’s Black Ambition Initiative

Courtesy of Hampton University

Hampton University students participated in a three-day Startup Entrepreneurship Boot Camp from Friday, October 28 to Sunday, October 30, 2022. The program introduced entrepreneurship methods to aspiring entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds. Students learned how to recognize and act on opportunities in the market by designing a business model, developing a prototype, working with expert mentors, and pitching ideas. This boot camp was sponsored by Ferguson, a member of the School of Engineering and Technology Engineering Advisory Board. Black Ambition, an organization founded by Pharrell Williams, provided a $10,000 cash prize, which was divided among camp participants. Norfolk State University students also participated in the boot camp.

Dr. Joyce Shirazi, Dean of the School of Engineering and Technology, said, “We are very proud of our students. They always come ready to learn and they love it when there is an element of competition involved. They learned how to pitch and promote their innovative projects.”

Student teams were formed on the first day of the camp, and facilitators led the groups through early concepts. During the second day of the camp, student groups focused on business model formation and testing of their business hypotheses. Mentors from Ferguson provided expert feedback and support. On the final day of the camp, participants engaged in intensive pitch workshops and delivered their pitches through presentations. Each presentation was made before a panel of entrepreneurship and business experts. Facilitators from Build in Tulsa, a program that seeks to close the racial wealth gap in America, and Novus supported the boot camp.

Dr. Jerald Dumas, dean of Hampton University’s Graduate College, associate professor of chemical engineering, and Hampton’s organizer for the boot camp said, “This experience was especially impactful for our engineering students as we strive for them to consider ‘human-centric’ elements in their designs.”

Hampton University students won the following portions of the $10,000 cash prize:

$2400 Team Umni  $1900 Team Hydrosource

Brian Eric Montgomery Jr Briana Webster

Helen Nkechinyere Kalu   Andres Syphrett

Joshua White  Anthony Akins

Quinton Maddox

$1650 Team V-Tints $500  Team xMELA

Khalid Hampton  Maasai Thornton

Jihaad Barnett  Jasmyn Gyapong

Trevor Blow  Chi’conna Gober

Anton Goldsmith