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Venkat Kuppuswamy, assistant professor of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business, has received the inaugural Bradford-Osborne Research Award for his co-authored 2017 Management Science paper, “The Colorblind Crowd? Founder Race and Performance in Crowdfunding.”

Venkat Kuppuswamy
D’Amore-McKim School of Business Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship & Innovation Venkat Kuppuswamy

Launched this year, the Bradford-Osborne Research Award is the first national award to recognize research published in peer-reviewed journals that contributes to advancing the growth of businesses owned by people of color. The award seeks to laud groundbreaking research and to stimulate additional research, aiding policy makers in public and corporate decision-making and equipping business support organizations to deliver effective programming.

Its founders, William “Bill” Bradford and Alfred E. Osborne, Jr., have 40+ year careers as business faculty. Bradford is an emeritus dean and emeritus professor of the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business; Osborne is the founder and serves as faculty director of the Harold and Pauline Price Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the UCLA Anderson School of Management where he is also a professor of Global Economics, Management, and Entrepreneurship. Collectively, they’ve published more than 60 research articles focused on entrepreneurs of color and the dynamics of their businesses.

Kuppuswamy’s work with University of Oregon’s Peter Younkin impressed the award’s review committee with its unique combination of methods and concrete/evidence-based recommendations regarding the disadvantage that African American men face when attempting to raise funding.

“It’s an immense honor to receive the inaugural Bradford-Osborne Research Award,” says Kuppuswamy. “Efforts to promote racial equity are bolstered and amplified when the business community make earnest efforts to address systematic biases. Racial equity and corporate performance are not at odds – they are complements that propel each other forward. As a researcher, I feel that we have reached a point where revealing the existence of racial biases in economic markets is necessary but insufficient. Telling a minority entrepreneur that he or she may experience bias is hardly of practical value. As scholars, we must do more to design and evaluate interventions that eliminate such biases.”

The latter point represents a pillar of his research program here at Northeastern. Kuppuswamy’s primary research domain are gender and racial biases in economic markets for critical resources. Of particular focus are the biases and forms of discrimination confronting minority entrepreneurs, particularly on crowd-based platforms like crowdfunding.

“My Dad has always set the standard for my research,” Kuppuswamy explains. “As an entrepreneur, he was critical of research that was too theoretical with little practical value to real businesspeople. As a result, when I began to explore racial biases in markets for talent and capital, it was important that my research provide actionable solutions and insight to minority entrepreneurs. Not surprising, it’s one of the reasons why I have found Northeastern to be a great home for my work – impact on society is a highly valued tenet of our scholarship.”

Kuppuswamy and Younkin were celebrated in a national presentation on Oct. 22, 2020.