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BROOKLYN, NY, December 12, 2020 — Saran Anika Nurse, a Ph.D. candidate in the Public and Urban Policy program at The Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy at The New School, was recently awarded the prestigious Knowledge Challenge grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to support her research on the effects of gentrification on business owner outcomes and survival.
The Knowledge Challenge is a biannual program that invites proposals for research activities aimed at improving the understanding of entrepreneurs and the levers, tools, and methods that can advance entrepreneurship in the United States. Its goal is to produce tangible insights for entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship program and policy design, ecosystem leaders, and researchers.
“The grants under this Knowledge Challenge are focused on inclusion and the importance of answering questions about the relationship between entrepreneurship, economic opportunity, and mobility,” Sameekasha Desai, director of knowledge creation and research in Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation said. “We’re excited to learn from the research collaborations that are investigating this nexus, as well as to a more inclusive research pipeline that will continue to push us forward. As we all struggle with the very serious effects of COVID-19, we need research that informs our way forward, not to go back to how things were, but to achieve a more resilient and inclusive economic system that serves all of us in the future.”
The Knowledge Challenge grant enables Saran to use an autoethnographic approach to examine the impact of local economic shocks on business outcomes of small businesses through the lens of Racial Stratification Theory and Critical Race Methodology. “I am really interested in understanding the survival of black-owned businesses as neighborhoods gentrify, and in doing a comparative analysis with other groups situated at different rungs of the racial hierarchy,” she said. “I want to answer the questions of why and how some businesses have continued to exist when others have not, and how race, racism, and racial inequality impact business survival.”
A native of Guyana, Saran became an entrepreneur close to twenty years ago after leaving corporate America. Despite various challenges, she grew Kiki’s Pet Spa & Boutique into a successful business with multiple locations. In the process, she became convinced of a calling to combine her experience in entrepreneurship, interest in public service, with her academic ambitions – to share her expertise through research and published work, and to explore and develop new policies, theories, and support structures for small businesses owned by people from underrepresented populations.
“There’s a dearth of literature on how gentrification affects businesses and few studies within the entrepreneurial literature that specifically examine black business survival,” said Saran. “To be recognized by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation as a thought leader in this discipline is an honor, and I am grateful for the opportunity to add to this body of work through my research.” Saran expects to be awarded her Ph.D. in late Spring 2021.
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to increase opportunities that allow all people to learn, to take risks, and to own their success. The Kauffman Foundation is based in Kansas City, Missouri, and uses its $2 billion in assets to collaboratively help people be self-sufficient, productive citizens. (Reproduced from Kauffman.org)