UDEA Award of Excellence recipients

SALT LAKE CITY - The University Economic Development Association (UDEA) recognized the University of Northern Iowa for its Iowa CORE Black Capital Studies + Projects, receiving an Award of Excellence at its annual summit on Oct. 11.

Out of 46 projects from U.S. and international organizations, the Black Capital Studies + Projects was voted to receive an Award of Excellence in the category of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for its commitment to underrepresented entrepreneurship via inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem building using a portfolio of 20+ initiatives and dozens of partners. The project is a collaboration between the University of Northern Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (UNI JPEC) and Iowa CORE.

“We are thrilled to bring home this token of hope, a transparent, strong yet fragile symbol recognizing uncommon progress during the uncertainty of the past four years in Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Iowa. Hundreds of entrepreneurs, innovators, changemakers and visionaries have been working together on building a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Lindi Roelofse, T. Wayne Davis Chair in Entrepreneurship at the UNI JPEC. “This award is fundamentally about how we are getting better at having difficult conversations, listening, and supporting each other in creating a more prosperous future together.”

Roelofse co-leads the Black Capital Studies + Projects with Iowa CORE chief executive officer Matthew Gilbert and chief integrity officer ReShonda Young. 

UDEA Award of Excellence

Some of the study’s output highlights even surpassed the leadership’s expectations. For example:

  • More than $5.5M of new venture funding investment secured by underrepresented entrepreneurs to mobilize their vision.
  • 91% of Black entrepreneurs from the 24/7 BLAC Business Entrepreneurship Accelerator are still in business (as compared to the statistical benchmark of less than 50%.
  • More than 120 UNI entrepreneurial students gained real-world experience, awards for innovation and real human-to-human connections when working on live-client entrepreneurial opportunities with some of the area’s most promising underrepresented entrepreneurs and innovators.

UDEA awards ceremony

Iowa CORE’s Black Capital Study + Projects is a collection of 23+ initiatives in service of building capacity for traditional monetary access as well as non-monetary types of capital for a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem in, and connected to Waterloo, Iowa.

To date, the various components that make up the Black Capital Studies + Projects portfolio have received more than 20 local, regional, national and international awards. The Black Capital Studies + Projects encourages the participation of entrepreneurs and innovators in the various programming and studies. 

During the upcoming Global Entrepreneurship Week, Nov. 12-16, you can benefit from an extra injection of resources with events almost daily in and around the University of Northern Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (UNI JPEC). More details at BlackCapitalStudy.org and jpec.uni.edu