Anuj Gurung Does Applied Research with Immigrant Communities in Akron's North Hill Neighborhood.
A School of Peace and Conflict Studies Instructor, Anuj Gurung, just completed an important applied research project worth noting and celebrating…
Political Science doctoral candidate and SPCS instructor Anuj Gurung worked as a Research Consultant for the International Institute of Akron in the fall of 2016, carrying out a much-needed study of neighborhood economics and social networking.
Funded by the Knight Foundation to study economic development in the immigrant-rich North Hill region of Akron, Anuj assisted the International Institute to design a two-stage research project consisting of surveys and a focus group in Akron’s North Hill area.
He designed the 20 question survey on recent revenue trends, impacts of immigrant clientele, and the business owner satisfaction with location. Distributing these surveys in-person provided Anuj with important data and helped him network with pertinent individuals for his dissertation on Bhutanese resettlement in North Hill.
This was following by a focus group between U.S.-born and immigrant business owners that Anuj designed and conducted. Beyond providing other information and data, the focus group also had important spin-off benefits as it created the initial contacts between the U.S.-born and immigrant owners. This led to further cooperative meetings between the two groups.
Anuj was the lead author on the project report and below he provides a snap shot of the findings for us:
· “The North Hill businesses, especially between North Main Street and Cuyahoga Falls Avenue, enjoy a stable business environment, with a high potential for future growth. 70% of all businesses reported a stable revenue trend in the last three years.
· Moreover, the business community is receptive of the rising immigrant population and the subsequent client base. 85% of surveyed immigrant businesses have an immigrant customer base of 60% or higher; 30% of non-immigrant businesses claim immigrant client base of 50% or more.
· There is a general consensus on the need for the North Hill business community to communicate with one another on a regular basis, and establish an information base that can be useful for start-up businesses. Locals wanted a business association and an opportunity to regularly meet with other North Hill business owners to discuss their concerns. Sharing best business practices including enhanced communication, and creation of a business information base to assist start-up businesses.”
Any who know him realize that Anuj is an ardent supporter of refugee rights. In addition, he previously worked for the United Nations High Commission on Refugees and ActionAid. Anuj also holds an MA in Peace and Conflict Studies from American University.
Congratulations to Anuj on this creative and useful application of his research skills, and on his connecting his dissertation research with the research needs of the community and neighborhood that he is studying!
The executive summary of the report is available.