The North Carolina Central University School of Business will launch an Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Research Clinic & Lab to expand the pipeline of minority entrepreneurs thanks to a four-year, $400,000 grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
The clinic and lab, led by principal investigator and School of Business director of entrepreneurship Henry McKoy, Ph.D., will support entrepreneurs and communities creating more equitable entrepreneurial and business ecosystems across the United States, while diversifying the entrepreneurial research pipeline. The project also will launch a national database to provide a better understanding of how to spur successful, diverse entrepreneurship, specifically in the African American community.
“The racial wealth gap in the U.S. and globally is growing, and more so as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” McKoy said. “We see the inequalities all around us. There has never been a more important time in our society than now to create a more inclusive, diverse, and equitable economy. Entrepreneurship is a key foundation of that. These resources will allow NCCU, our students, and our faculty to be at the forefront of that intellectual and applied work, both locally and nationally.”
The funding was provided through the Kauffman Foundation’s Knowledge Challenge program and is one of only 13 such grants awarded in the United States.
The Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation that supports entrepreneurship and education nationwide to increase opportunities that allow all people to learn, to take risks, and achieve success.
The funding will support fellowships for 100 undergraduate students and 12 faculty members across different disciplines at NCCU. Student fellows will engage in important research focused on improving entrepreneurial and economic equity in Durham and across the United States. Faculty fellows will learn to integrate entrepreneurial research into their disciplines and lead a sub-group of undergraduate entrepreneurial research fellows.
Workshops also will be developed to introduce additional faculty members to entrepreneurial research. In addition, 40 summer internships will afford students the opportunity to return to their hometowns and other communities to work with local governments to examine the degree of equity present in municipal entrepreneurial ecosystems.
“North Carolina Central University, the School of Business and the greater Durham community are uniquely positioned to synthesize and grow the body of knowledge in entrepreneurship research and therefore substantially spur economic growth and development during this transitional period,” said Anthony Nelson, Ph.D., dean of the NCCU School of Business. “As the economy rebounds, the support from The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation will present us with the tools and resources needed to ensure we are building programs that strengthen, grow and sustain diverse and scalable business opportunities for our community."
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s Knowledge Challenge is a biannual program that invites proposals for research activities aimed at improving basic understanding of entrepreneurs, as well as the levers, tools, and methods that can advance entrepreneurship in the United States.
The Knowledge Challenge is open to proposals from those conducting research in universities and other academic institutions, laboratories, companies, nonprofit organizations, and as individuals. The goal of the Knowledge Challenge is to produce tangible insights for entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship program and policy design, business leaders, and researchers.