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Leigh Coleman

Leigh ColemanDirector & CEO

Leigh Coleman has spent most of his working life helping people address inequalities and challenges experienced when people embark on starting up and growing micro and small enterprises. Using organizational approaches to assist in growing local markets and strengthening the business sector Leigh has established successful enterprise development and finance organisations in a number of countries including Australia.

Access to contracts, capacity building and capital continues to be an impediment to many businesses. Prior to 1976 Leigh ran a number of micro and small businesses. One motor business he started is still running successfully after 45 years. From 1976-2001 Leigh worked closely with a small team who established Opportunity International. Leigh was their first Program Director. He focused on Asia establishing over 25 local organisations some of which evolved into Development Banks with a strong mandate and focus on assisting micro and small enterprises. Starting with just Leigh and David Bussau, in 1976 Opportunity International had some 5000+ fulltime workers assisting hundreds of thousands of businesses by 2001 when Leigh stepped down as an Executive Director. During this period over $1 Billion was lent out in unsecured micro and small business loans achieving a repayment rate in the high 90% which saw the creation of new and sustainable employment on an exponential level.

After a spell working as the CEO of Hillsong Emerge, Leigh took up the position of founding CEO of Many Rivers Microfinance (Many Rivers) a new local initiative originally trialed by Opportunity International and now run in conjunction with Westpac and Mission Australia. Many Rivers now runs in some 20 Regions across Australia covering half the country and providing finance and business development support to micro and small businesses. In 2014 Leigh vacated the role of CEO and continues as a Director.

Leigh, along with the other founding Directors, established ServeGate as collaborative gateway and facilitator of Small and Medium Enterprises. Leigh has taken up the role of founding CEO.


Company Position Period Employed
ServeGate Australia CEO & Founding Director 2015-present
Many Rivers CEO & Founding Director 2008-2014
Hillsong Emerge CEO 2002-2007
Opportunity International Asian Regional Director 1976-2001
Various small businesses Founder and Principal Pre 1976