Scaling Black Enterprises
The founders of a purpose-driven private investment firm shared lessons learned and hopes for the future of Black businesses at the DuSable Conference.
- October 03, 2022
A Leap of Faith
Noting that Torbert and Hampton came to 5CP from prestigious positions at high-powered companies, Davis asked the partners what prompted them to trade the stability of a comfortable role for a risky new venture.
For Torbert, the impetus was the rare chance to do something he was passionate about with people who shared his values—and still focus on generating strong and attractive financial returns in the process.
“We saw the opportunity to have a real impact, and that doesn’t come around a lot,” he said. “When those types of windows open up, you have to be intentional about taking those risks and doing it with the people you think will get you there.”
For Hampton, the entrepreneurial leap was also spurred in part by the impending arrival of his first child. “I’m generally risk averse. But I started thinking about the values I would seek to instill in my son—things like confidence and being courageous,” he said. “So I decided to live those values by taking a real bet on myself.”
“Millennial and subsequent generations are very focused on DEI—and those are the folks who are going to be leading the next generation of companies.”
A Focus on Diverse Businesses
From the beginning, the 5CP team believed in the benefits of an increasingly diverse landscape and committed itself to leading with those diverse stakeholders in mind. That focus, Hampton said, has been fueled both by personal passion and strategic thinking that he believes will lead to outsized financial results.
“We live in a world that’s becoming more diverse,” he said. “Millennial and subsequent generations are very focused on DEI [diversity, equity, and inclusion]—and those are the folks who are going to be leading the next generation of companies.”
Noting that talented people who could have real impact are often overlooked, Hampton added that the company’s focus on diversity gives it a strategic advantage. “It’s about how you harness diversity, whether that means helping a diverse business grow and scale or helping companies with limited diversity unlock potential by becoming more inclusive,” he said.
“We hope to help create a world where it isn’t an anomaly to have Black people investing in Black companies.”
The Future of Black-Owned Businesses
Looking ahead to the future of their firm, Hampton and Torbert said they hoped to leave a legacy of backing successful diverse executive leaders and operators that are making an impact on their communities.
“We would love to help our companies break through that next tier of growth so that they’re able to have an outsized economic impact as a result,” Hampton said. “And then they can start their own family office and invest in their community. All these things contribute to the larger society.”
Torbert added that they’re also committed to raising up other firms. “We do a lot of mentoring. We talk to a lot of people who are trying to raise their own funds,” he said. “We hope to help create a world where it isn’t an anomaly to have Black people investing in Black companies.”
The DuSable Conference is one of Booth’s longest-running student-led conferences. Organized by the African American MBA Association with support from UChicago administration, it brings together alumni, students, faculty, and community leaders for networking opportunities and discussions about racial equity, diversity, and inclusion. This year’s conference, the first to take place in person since 2019, featured discussions on lifting up Black leadership, creating inclusive environments, and empowering generational transformation.
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