Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the goal of this research study?

The Black Capital Study is a long-term research study

The Black Capital Study is a research study that strives to benefit the entrepreneurial environment (economy, society, services, etc.) of Black business owners, innovators, and change-makers in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Area. We are seeking to understand specifically how the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Black entrepreneurial ecosystem has been changing since 2018. It has a broad outlook on capital to reach beyond the economic meaning of the word to include both cultural and social capital in the first series of questions.

We would appreciate your help in sharing your experiences. By doing this, we can identify gaps in support, services, and information resources to help us create future solutions that benefit Black entrepreneurs.

2. What will the procedural steps entail?

This is a multi-phased study, with the first phase including an online survey. You may access the survey through a link from any web-compatible electronic device. This survey will ask you questions about your entrepreneurial experiences and life changes since 2018.

Because this survey includes questions that ask you about your venture or business tax filings from 2018 to 2021, it is recommended you have this information available to you when completing the study. Our best estimate is that you would be able to complete the 35 questions (plus a handful of pre-survey questions) in under 60 minutes.

All questions are essential to the study and are voluntary. You may choose to skip any questions for any reason without penalty. You may also withdraw your participation by exiting the survey at any time without penalty. If you participate in this survey, you will be notified with an opportunity to participate in future phases of this study if you are interested. We anticipate completing additional follow-up surveys and/or workshops approximately every 3 months. Every phase of this study is completely voluntary, and you will have the option to participate or not participate. Study data might be analyzed in new studies in the future.

With this type of research (action research), it is also important for us to give you an opportunity to respond to the patterns we find. After we have removed all identifying details and grouped themes, our plan is to show you the results report within 3-6 months. No participant should be able to be identified from that report, but there is a chance that you may see yourself or your journey reflected back to you in some of the grouped themes. If you would like to be identified in our report and/or given opportunities to have public (or confidential) conversations with media, policy-makers, foundations, speaker engagements, etc., we will provide you with an opportunity to indicate that in your response to the report. However, we want to be clear that your privacy and confidentiality will be a priority in this phase of the journey that you would be consenting to today.

Step 1. You should receive a unique BlackCapital ID in your email inbox. Please double check that the info on your personalized Public Basic Info Block is correct (or correct it before you complete your 13 Questions. If you did not receive your BlackCapital ID, please click register here first. Your public info will be stored separately from your private and confidential responses.

Step 2. Gather your IRS documents and other numbers about how your business has changed over the years and click the link to join The Black Capital Study 1.0.

Section A: Demographics. Demographics helps us understand what stage of life you are in. Reflect with us what big changes may have taken place for you during the past 5 years.
Section B. Economic Capital. The first nine questions will have to do with financial capital from 2018 to now. It is in order if those are estimates. Please do your best, and then take a clear picture and upload your relevant IRS document at the end of this section.
Section C. Social Capital. The next eight questions involve your social support system's change from 2018 to now.
Section D. Cultural Capital. The final five questions will ask you to tell three stories. Use whatever medium feels best and record via video, audio or write down your stream of consciousness for about 5 minutes.

Step 3. Give us a few months to bring your information together with about another 100 other entrepreneurs. About six months later we will share what we found. We would also like to capture your response to the patterns. Also few months after this first round, we will share The Black Capital Study 2.0 questions on the same topic of capitals, but we will take a closer look at patterns that emerged.

3. How long is it expected to last?

There are three answers to this question. The Black Capital Study 1.0 set of questions is expected to take a little over 20 minutes to complete if you sit down and you have your books, tax filings, and marketing resources around you. However, we warmly encourage all participants to also give feedback and respond to the big-picture findings. We estimate that it will likely take about six months to get back to participants. But the journey is not expected to end there after six months. We believe that there is value in tracking how the ecosystem changes over time. To track that part of the journey we expect to reach out with similar questions every year and dig deeper with new fresh questions when we discover interesting patterns too.

4. What are the Discomforts, Risks, and Costs?

Risks to participation are minimal. Risks to participation are similar to those experienced in day-to-day life. There may be some discomfort experienced in responding to some of the questions, but you may skip any question for any reason.

5. What are the benefits to participating?

The study aims to generate important information about the current state of the entrepreneurial environment and how improvements may be made in the future for Black business owners, innovators, and founders. We hope that includes you, but we can not make assurances of your personal or professional benefit. However, we are delighted to confirm that we have secured funding to reimburse you for your time sharing your truth and donating your data. The market value of the time it takes to complete the Summer 2022 question set is determined to be a $25 gift card for every participant in the Summer 2022 survey. Please be sure to indicate the mailing address in the pre-survey section of where you would like the gift card to be sent.

6. How will confidentiality and privacy be maintained?

The information collected in this survey is confidential. All participants will be assigned participant ID numbers to protect their privacy and anonymity in presenting and publishing findings. Researchers cannot guarantee that information shared online will not be electronically intercepted, although this is highly unlikely. Data may be contained in public data repositories or made public in future studies. If you choose to share your story, you will have full anonymity. If you desire to make any information public, you may contact the principal researcher. All information will be stored in a file on the principal researcher's password-protected computer.

7. Are there penalties for not participating or withdrawing (Do I have the Right to Refuse or Withdraw)?

Your participation is completely voluntary. You are free to withdraw from participation at any time or to choose not to participate at all, and by doing so, you will not be penalized. Each of the questions is essential to the study but voluntary too. In this survey version, you may skip any questions for any reason without penalty. You may also withdraw your participation by exiting the survey at any time without penalty.

8. Will the results be discussed with the participants?

Absolutely. If you choose to participate we look forward to touching base with you. In about six months we should be able to have brought together the different pieces of information you shared to gain a better picture on the broader trends. Once we have that we would like to run the emergent recommendations and policies by you to work towards actively shaping the future. Each participant is thus ultimately also a researcher.

9. Who are the researchers + team members involved in the Black Capital study + project?

Dr. Lindi Roelofse
Principal Investigator
Program Director
ReShonda Young
Principal Investigator
Chief Integrity Officer
Matthew Gilbert, Esq.
Principal Investigator
Fiscal Agent
Megan Bunyer
Emotional Capital

Grad Research Assistant
Ali Bai
Social Capital
Grad Research Assistant
Noman Ikram
Cultural Capital

Grad Research Assistant
Cheick Bally
Physical Health Capital

Grad Research Assistant
Rob Liguz
Economic Capital

Equity Investment Analyst
Terrance Thames
Film Maker
Dr. Dale Cyphert