Count the Costs Research Weekend: Racial Inequity


A pillar bearing the Tulane shield
Dates: March 12-14

The Albert Lepage Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Tulane University’s A. B. Freeman School of Business is collaborating with researchers from across the university to host a three-day workshop aimed at counting the costs of racial inequity in the United States.


Participants in "Count the Costs Research Weekend" will develop research proposals to investigate the barriers that BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) experience in our society, the economic impact of those barriers and viable approaches to addressing them. At the end of the weekend, participants can use their proposals to apply for one of five research grants to be awarded from a funding pool of $100,000. We encourage a variety of approaches from all academic disciplines within the university. For the health and safety of all involved, Research Weekend events will take place virtually. 

Academic partners for the event include the Murphy Institute, the Cowen Institute, the Taylor Center for Social Innovation, the Center for Public Service, the Mary Amelia Center for Women’s Health Equity Research and New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University. The Lepage Center is convening a group of community partners to ensure their perspectives are being incorporated into this work. Included in the group of community partners scheduled to participated are the Whitney Plantation and the Louisiana Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

Apply to Participate in "Count the Costs Research Weekend" 

Applications will be evaluated throughout the registration period, but must be submitted no later than Monday, March 8. If selected, teams will be notified no later than Wednesday, March 10.

Impetus for "Count the Costs Research Weekend"

“Count the Costs Research Weekend” was motivated by findings from the 2020 Greater New Orleans Startup Report. For the past two years, the Lepage Center has surveyed more than 200 small businesses to gauge the region’s economic and entrepreneurial health. The 2020 survey found significant racial inequities between BIPOC-owned businesses and white-owned businesses in access to funding as well as outcomes such as revenue and profit margins.  

“These insights come directly from our own startup community,” said Rob Lalka, executive director of the Lepage Center. “When we see such inequities along racial lines, we’re witnessing historical and moral injustices — we know that. But there is more to the data, which we need to better understand. What would our GDP be, if we had invested more equitably? What innovations are we missing out on? We want to find out the answers to those questions, and many others like them, because that knowledge is the first step towards shedding light on entrepreneurial solutions the data tell us we’ve ignored, and which could create a better economy for us all.”  

Guidelines for Participation:

  • Teams of researchers may include faculty, staff, graduate students, advanced undergraduate students and community members, but each team must be led by at least one Tulane affiliate. 
  • Throughout the weekend, participants develop a research question that addresses a specific aspect of racial inequity and a robust proposal for how to approach it.
  • At the end of the weekend, each team will present to a panel of evaluators who will provide critical feedback on the proposal.
  • Teams will then have a chance to revise their proposals before submitting for a research grant of up to $20,000, two weeks after the event.

The panel of evaluators for the weekend include Anneliese Singh, Tulane University chief diversity officer; Thomas LaVeist, dean of Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine; Jasmijn Bol, professor of accounting at the A. B. Freeman School of Business; Ted Fee, professor and senior associate dean at the A.B. Freeman School of Business; and Margaret Montgomery-Richard, former board chair of the New Orleans Regional Black Chamber of Commerce. 

Schedule of Events:

  • Friday afternoon: Welcome to Research Participants. Representatives from various Tulane centers, institutions, and community partners will provide a brief presentation on the resources that are available to participants. 
  • Friday evening to Sunday morning: teams work together to develop proposals; some presenters from Friday afternoon will hold “office hours” to answer questions and share information.
  • Sunday afternoon: Teams present their proposals to the panel of evaluators and receive critical feedback.
  • Late March: Final grant submissions are due. 

Research Grants:

In late March, the panel of evaluators will select five proposals to receive research grants of up to $20,000. "Count the Costs Research Weekend" participants are encouraged to use the time between the weekend and final submission to revise their proposals based on the panel's critical feedback. The evaluators may consider proposals from teams that were unable to participate in research weekend on a case-by-case basis, but teams that participate in the weekend will be favored. Each selected team will ultimately write a paper on their findings, which will be published by the Lepage Center. Researchers will also present the outcomes of their work during the following academic year. The panelists will look for a wide variety of projects from all disciplines to help present a comprehensive picture of the costs of racial inequity.

Apply to Participate

Applications will be evaluated throughout the registration period, but must be submitted no later than Monday, March 8. If selected, teams will be notified no later than Wednesday, March 10.

Note: Teams should be formed in advance of the event. We encourage diverse teams with a variety of outlooks and experience levels. Teams that do not already include a faculty member are encouraged to select a faculty mentor, though the mentor need not be an official part of the team. Teams comprised of two or more members are strongly preferred, but some individuals may be allowed to participate on a case-by-case basis. 

Please email Rosalind Butler at with any questions or concerns.