Black tech entrepreneur will get a $ 1 million increase from Pharrell Williams | Leisure

Entrepreneur Justin Turk knew his startup was special, but the $ 1 million prize from Grammy-winning singer and producer Pharrell Williams was shocking.

On Tuesday, Williams announced the winner of his Black Ambition Awards competition-and Turk and his business partner Andre Davis have received national attention.

Williams’ nonprofit was founded in December to help black and Latin business owners close the wealth gap through entrepreneurship.

Livegistics co-founders Turk and Davis have won a top prize of $ 1 million. Detroit-based entrepreneurs run a cloud-based material management software company. This eliminates the need for heavy civil engineering work and demolition paperwork. The company also provides data and indicators that construction professionals can use for efficiency.

Livegistics also helps the environment by eliminating large amounts of paper each year, helping communities accelerate the eradication of devastation in cities and neighborhoods.

“We knew there was something special, but I don’t think we’d leave for a million dollars, but when that happened, you said,” Wow, we’re just a million. It’s like winning the dollar, “Tark said.

But the 40-year-old said he didn’t know that joy and pain could coexist at the same time.

Success can be bittersweet

The day he learned that a tech start-up had won the grand prize, his father-in-law died before sharing the news.

“Every 24 hours, it was the greatest and worst moments that were forever connected, where there was the greatest business success ever and the worst day of life in 24 hours,” Turk said. Says. “It’s weird. Sometimes I feel guilty about being very happy with what’s going on, but I know he would have been excited.”

Turk, who co-founded the business with Davis three years ago, said he saw a team of medical professionals trying to revive his praised wife’s father hours after learning of the victory. .. He was a veteran who loved architecture. And they shared the same passion for construction.

The Turks said they would bury their father-in-law at a private ceremony on Saturday instead of hosting a celebration party for friends and family.

“He would have been crazy about what was going on. If he could see all of this, it would just have blown him away,” Turk said. “He was walking around the city of Detroit and looking at the buildings himself. This is just his decade.”

The friendship between Turk and Davis dates back decades. According to Davis, the two met in elementary school at the age of five. Then they were college roommates at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Chief Financial Officer Davis said becoming a business partner was never a goal, but it made sense.

“He’s in almost every special moment in my life,” Davis said. “We not only solve the most important reason (cash flow) for construction companies to go out of business, but also reduce the amount of work and make it easier for customers to manage their lives.”

41-year-old Davis said he worked as CFO outsourced to clients in the Metro Detroit region at Financial One. For ten years, he started and operated his own accounting and financial services business, stepping into the non-profit sector and giving back. He wants to encourage other black and minority entrepreneurs who are about to start a business to make a leap in faith.

“Today’s thoughts, backed by today’s efforts, are one step closer to your dream of tomorrow. Justin is great. His background is the foundation of what I see as a unicorn,” says Davis. I did. “A minority-owned third-generation business owner who understands every aspect of a large construction project at the professional level. He also has a degree in computer science and can speak the language of tech geeks. I can’t find Justin Turk roaming around. Every day. “

Together, the hybrid team won the grand prize by beating about 1,700 applicants. Williams, who announced the initiative in December, congratulated the team on Twitter on Tuesday, saying, “We are very inspired by you and can’t wait to see how you change the world.” Said.

Turk and Davis said the victory was greater than they were. It’s about opening the door for the next person.

“It’s not just the prize money that wins this competition,” Turk said. “When we first entered the world of tech startups as two black entrepreneurs, we didn’t know how to navigate this space.”

The Turks were not only taught how to navigate, but “dominate the industry that recently decided to grant access to people of color.”

Victory breaks the open door. And Turk has another goal.

“I want to create a guest list, not just an invitation,” he said.

Black tech entrepreneur gets a $ 1 million boost from Pharrell Williams | Entertainment

Source link Black tech entrepreneur gets a $ 1 million boost from Pharrell Williams | Entertainment

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