Grant enables research into success strategies for underrepresented entrepreneurs

Grant enables research into success strategies for underrepresented entrepreneurs

College of Business /

CEDAR FALLS, IOWA – The Iowa Center for Opportunity Resources & Equity Inc. (Iowa CORE) has secured a grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation for the Black Capital Study + Projects. This funding will support research initiatives led by Lindi Roelofse, the T. Wayne Davis Chair in Entrepreneurship at the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (UNI JPEC). The primary focus of these projects is to investigate how underrepresented entrepreneurs navigate and conquer challenges on their path to success. By studying their experiences, the research aims to understand what helps these entrepreneurs surpass obstacles. 

The Kauffman Foundation is well-known for supporting entrepreneurs and their communities in starting, growing, and scaling businesses. The grant will enable Iowa CORE and UNI JPEC to research the relationship between different types of capital (financial and social capital, as well as  other resources) and the recent success of Cedar Valley entrepreneurs facing historical barriers. The research aims to uncover the factors contributing to disadvantaged entrepreneurs' success by studying the impact of these different types of capital. The findings will help develop strategies and actions to promote fairness and equal opportunities for entrepreneurs in Iowa.

“We look forward to seeing where research can help provide additional support and exposure to the innovative work ecosystem builders are already leading in Heartland communities,” said Chhaya Kolavalli, Senior Program Officer, Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation. “By prioritizing community voice and perspective, these projects will ultimately continue to embed equity into the foundation of the research we support.” 

The grant funding supports detailed research, data analysis and community engagement. It brings together researchers, entrepreneurs, and community members to ensure different viewpoints are heard in the study. The goal is to understand how entrepreneurs succeed and address challenges caused by inequality; this research is essential for creating new knowledge and positively impacting entrepreneurship.

"ReShonda Young, Matthew Gilbert and I deeply appreciate the support of the Kauffman Foundation to allow us to co-create and build new knowledge frameworks. said Roelofse. "Over the past three years, we have worked closely with entrepreneurs who have been successful beyond in the face of many barriers. Now is a great time to invest into making it easier for innovators to be successful at creating new value in our economy.”

For more information about the Black Capital Study + Projects and the research initiatives supported by the grant, please visit