Faculty Research Fellows to examine why minority businesses slow to grow

Research & Innovation

Jayme Blaschke | February 28, 2022

three minority business owners looking at computer

Three faculty members have been named Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) Faculty Research Fellows to support the Sustainable Cultivation and Advancement of Local Enterprises for Underserved Populations (SCALEUP) program at Texas State University.

SCALEUP is a new initiative at Texas State designed to research the factors restraining minority-owned business growth and to identify potential remedies.

Sid Anderson, assistant professor in the Department of Marketing, Omar López, associate professor in the Department of Organization, Workforce and Leadership Studies, and Min Wan, assistant professor in the Department of Management, will serve as research fellows in support of the SCALEUP program for one year by participating in a collaborative, multi-disciplinary research team charged with identifying and investigating factors that impede minority-enterprise growth and developing practical tools to solve these challenges.

The fellowships were funded in part by a $25,000 grant from San Antonio-based Frost. As one of the largest banks based in Texas, Frost is the banking, investments and insurance subsidiary of Cullen/Frost Bankers, Inc.

"Frost has been a longstanding supporter of the success of small- and family-owned businesses," said Tim Crowley, Frost's Austin region president. "We are pleased to partner with Texas State on SCALEUP as it seeks to enhance the success of those businesses in our underserved and minority communities that we serve across the state as well."

Operating under Texas State's CIE, SCALEUP was initially proposed under the Big Ideas initiative. SCALEUP was identified as a program that leveraged Texas State's existing multidisciplinary resources while serving the region with a long-term vision of positioning the university as a thought leader in entrepreneurship.

two black business owners smiling in business

In recent decades, the number of minority-owned businesses increased substantially with many minority populations doubling the number of new entrepreneurs. Despite this robust entrepreneurial culture, minority-owned businesses tend to remain small. They do not grow, or scale, at the same rate as non-minority-owned businesses.  

Because Texas ranks second nationally in the number of minority-owned businesses, this failure to scale results in significant economic underperformance for the state. The raw numbers from the United States Department of Commerce indicate that if minority-owned businesses nationally grew at the same rate as non-minority-owned businesses, generating equal revenues and employment rates, the impact would equate to an injection of more than $5 trillion in additional revenue into the economy with more than 20 million additional jobs created.  

"Despite minority populations increasing in size and an increase in the number of new minority businesses, once minority businesses are created, they are not growing at the same rate as their majority-owned counterparts," said Josh Daspit, an associate professor in the Department of Management and a founder of SCALEUP. "Focusing on this issue is an opportunity where Texas State is uniquely positioned to make a difference with meaningful impact. The result of the program is more business growth, which leads to a better economy, greater employment and more income for families. This is research with relevance."

SCALEUP is currently in its first phase, which includes conducting research related to potential obstacles that affect minority-business growth. The Frost donation is supporting this initial phase. The subsequent phases include developing, testing and sharing newly developed tools to help minority-business leaders grow their firms.

"Even though the program is in its first phase, we are beginning to gain valuable insights into the factors limiting the growth of minority businesses," said Rob Konopaske, a leader of SCALEUP and associate professor in the Department of Management and director of the Institute for Global Business at Texas State. Konopaske also brings notable international work and consulting experience to the team.

The addition of Anderson, Wan and López better enables SCALEUP to approach its mission with a holistic, multidisciplinary perspective.

Anderson's research interests include marketing strategy, healthcare marketing and service operations management. Prior to entering academia, he had 12 years of experience in the IT industry, where he assisted in implementing enterprise resource planning systems. Anderson's consulting expertise includes data conversion and systems integration.

López's academic training includes the physical sciences, management and education. His South Texas upbringing in the Rio Grande Valley gave him the passion to focus on using transdisciplinary methodologies to solve some of the thorniest problems confronting society's most vulnerable populations. The result is a diverse array of publications in the fields of educational technology, economics of education, teacher education accountability, higher education sustainability and family studies.

Wan's research focuses on work-family issues, employee self-regulation, employee well-being and cross-cultural human resource management. She serves as the communications director for the Work-Family Researchers Network’s special international group on Cross-Country Comparisons. She is also on the editorial review board of Cross Cultural & Strategic Management

For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922