Count the Costs: Racial Inequity


A pillar bearing the Tulane shield

Read the recap of the Count the Costs Research Weekend

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 source community-focused research projects for Count the Costs Research Grants.

The initiative began in the spring of 2021 with a three-day workshop aimed at counting the costs of racial inequity in the United States. Participants in "Count the Costs Research Weekend" developed 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 used their proposals to apply for one of five research grants to be awarded from a funding pool of $100,000. Grant recipients will be announced in early June. 

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 participate are the Whitney Plantation and the Louisiana Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

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.”  

Research Grants:

In early June, a panel of evaluators will select five proposals to receive research grants of up to $20,000. 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.

Please email Rosalind Butler at for more information.