CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Ron Leeper founded his Charlotte-based construction company thirty years ago.
"It has been a constant struggle just getting access to capital," Leeper said.
His company is so successful, that they’re currently working on a massive project renovating the Charlotte Convention Center. Still, he says getting access to the money he needed to grow his business over the last 30 years has been tough.
"I've actually heard business people talk about how they respect business like me," he said. "But when it comes to economics they refuse to entertain conversations about how we might be able to get financial opportunities."
That’s why the newly launched investment firm, Bright Hope Capital, is aiming to help minority-owned businesses in Charlotte. And it’s headed by some of the most well-known charlotte business leaders. Some of those names include former Bank of America CEO Hugh McColl, former Duke Energy leader Lloyd Yates and Malcomb Coley, a managing partner at Earnst and Young.
"During the social injustice and the pandemic really exposed companies that have not had access to capital but more importantly access to social capital," Coley said.
The new firm will loan money, and expertise, and access to their Rolodexes.
"How do we help black and brown businesses that have been underserved and how do we use our financial capital social capital to help them scale," Coley said.
And while Leeper construction is their first acquisition – they say they're open to working with minority businesses of all different sizes and kinds in the Queen City.