Black-Owned VC Firm Launching Microloan Lending Arm For Charlotte Startups


Black Pearl Investments, a Black-owned venture capital firm focused on reducing health disparities across the globe, will officially launch its lending arm on June 20 during a community event titled, “Going Beyond Access (To Capital).”

Black Pearl will begin offering microloans of up to $100,000 to startups in the Charlotte market. Unlike traditional underwriting, credit will not be the primary determining factor. Instead, Black Pearl will utilize proprietary metrics and algorithms to gauge growing business risk.

“On the heels of Juneteenth and the focus on what freedom means to the Black community, Black Pearl hopes to provide economic freedom to Black business owners by removing the barriers which often prevent them from reaching the next level,” said Dr. Shante Williams, CEO of Black Pearl Global Investments and chair of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Black Chamber of Commerce (CMBCC). “We are separating ourselves from our peers by matching capital to business needs rather than asking the business owner to try to fit into a narrow box.”

According to a 2021 Small Business Credit Survey released by the 12 Reserve Banks of the Federal Reserve System, Black businesses that applied for traditional forms of financing were least likely to receive the amount of financing initially requested. Through Black Pearl’s lending arm, the firm plans to reduce those obstacles by providing capital to businesses beyond those seeking venture capital dollars.

Along with CMBCC, Black Pearl is also partnering with The IKEA US Community Foundation to deploy $25,000 to five Black businesses during the June 20 event, which will be held at 1501 South Mint — a Black-owned lounge in the Wilmore neighborhood. US Bank has also committed funding to support participating businesses.

“We like to talk about small businesses being the heartbeat of America, but quite often many small businesses can’t walk into their bank and get a loan. That’s where partners like Black Pearl can step in to support these entrepreneurs with funding that can go toward things like buying inventory or other needs that new businesses must consider,” Williams said.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. and is open to the public, but registration is required. Interested attendees can RSVP through Eventbrite.