Two celebrity allies of the HBCU community are announcing a competition where students and alumni can win up to $1 million. Get the full story from Tomas Kasshun at Blavity below.
Jordan and Williams will award the winners during halftime of the Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic Basketball Showcase.
Aspiring business founders who are current students or alumni from HBCU have a chance to win up to $1 million from Michael B. Jordan’s Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic competition. The contest, which requires participants to submit innovative business proposals, is launching in partnership with venture capital firm MaC Venture Capital, as well as Serena Williams’ investment company, Serena Ventures.
Jordan and Williams will award the winners during halftime of the Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic Basketball Showcase Finals in New Jersey on Dec. 18, the organization said in a statement to Blavity. Hampton University, North Carolina Central University, Howard University and North Carolina A&T University will be the schools featured at the HBCU college basketball showcase, which will air on TNT.
Executives from MaC Ventures, Serena Ventures, Invesco, Thirty Five Ventures, Harlem Capital Partners and Cake Ventures will continue to work with the winners in the coming months.
“HBCUs are an integral part of our educational ecosystem and have long been centers of entrepreneurial excellence. We are thrilled to be partnering with Michael B. Jordan and MaC Ventures on highlighting the brilliant student and alumni founders,” Serena Ventures General Partner Alison Stillman said in a press release.
MaC Venture Capital General Partner Michael Palank also commented in the release: “Talent is ubiquitous but access to opportunity is not.”
“Two of our partners are HBCU alumni and we could not be more excited to uncover and support the amazing entrepreneurial talent we know is thriving at these universities,” Palank continued.
Leading up to the basketball showcase, Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic will partner with the Esport nonprofit, Cxmmunity, to host an NBA 2K tournament. The event, scheduled for Dec. 13, will also feature a band showcase and a live musical performance, as well as college and career opportunities.
Tickets for the basketball portion of the Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic start at $25. Proceeds from the event support organizations which aim to advance HBCUs, as well as the local Newark community in New Jersey.
“I am thrilled to finally announce the four HBCUs that will be competing in the inaugural Legacy Classic,” Jordan said, according to Variety. “Invesco QQQ and Turner Sports have been amazing partners in helping bring this experience to life. I grew up watching basketball games on TNT, so I am confident they will deliver this set of games to a true audience of basketball fans and their families in an exciting way.”
Jordan was seen in a recent ad for the NBA‘s 75th-anniversary celebration. The actor drives a bus full of children in the ad and takes them through “NBA Lane,” an imaginary neighborhood that includes current NBA stars and iconic basketball legends.
Kate Jhaveri, chief marketing officer at NBA, said Jordan “has an authentic love for the game of basketball.”
“Moreover, his participation in ‘NBA Lane’ stems from our shared commitment in spotlighting HBCUs,” Jhaveri told Adweek. “He’s working on his upcoming Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic on Saturday, Dec. 18, on TNT that will feature a HBCU doubleheader, while highlighting HBCU life and culture. We’re fortunate to work with our ‘NBA Lane bus driver’ who not only has a strong connection with our fanbase, but equally shares the values of our league and fans.”