It is making change happen
Racial equity has been a foremost topic of public discussion, debate, and commentary for the past year. For change to actually happen, though, look to organizations such as The Study to get it done.
Last year in this space, we wrote about The Study USA, an Irving-based LLC that exists to promote equity for women and minorities, which at the time was administering a loan program with the City of Irving to help small businesses endure the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Study is the brainchild of attorney and executive Tom Foley, who is of counsel to Wright Connatser.
Fast forward to 2021 with its reopening economy and The Study is going strong. While The Study operates a co-working location, it’s not about a place — it’s about a community of like-minded individuals who are dedicated to personal growth and success in business. The mission of The Study is to connect these female and minority entrepreneurs with the knowledge and resources to grow their businesses and achieve their goals.
Currently, it serves as the home of 20 businesses, 19 of which are either minority- or women-owned and 65 percent are led by a woman of color. It offers below-market rent for office space and co-working space amenities such as Wi-Fi, meeting space and mailing addresses. But it does much more. The Study provides coaching, programming, and, perhaps most importantly, connections for these small businesses to get access to capital and professional services to help them grow. After all, it is often access that these entrepreneurs are lacking the most.
Guidance during the pandemic
During the last year, The Study reached more than 2,400 small businesses through its free webinar series, It’s My Business, focused on delivering legal understanding of the impact of the pandemic, from navigating the CARES Act to understanding legal obligations and opportunities, such as negotiating lease terms (force majeure clauses) and managing employee matters.
The Study is an example of a for-profit, but mission-led organization. It is a privately held company but the five-person “Core Team” acts as its soul. All five members are women of color. They know firsthand the pain and challenges that female and minority business owners face daily; it is this team that provides the input and leadership for The Study’s programming and services.
“The Study is building a model community that is unique, giving smaller women- and minority-owned businesses a home and autonomy so they can thrive,” said Dianna Jones, the CEO and founder of Positive Pursuits and a member of the Core Team.
Tom Foley speaking at The Study