You are welcomed! breaking the mold – A blog series that dives into the unique business challenges and opportunities of underrepresented business owners and entrepreneurs. Learn how they grew or scaled their businesses, explored entrepreneurial ventures within their companies, or created side hustles, and how their stories can inspire and inform your own success.
Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities, which originated from around 20 different countries, has a long history of exclusion, strict immigration laws, and discrimination. When immigrants, like my grandfather, came to America from East and Southeast Asia in the 19th and 20th centuries, most of the available jobs were drudgery labor.
When there was little access to employment, or low wages, many newcomers relied on building small businesses to provide for their families. Those businesses have become deeply rooted in the day-to-day life of American society—restaurants, nail salons, donut shops, dry cleaners, spas, markets, and many more.
Still, obstacles have existed. National CAPACD Recently analyzed federal and membership data on AAPI small businesses and noted gaps in access to funding rise in hate crimes, and language barriers. Despite these challenges, US Census Bureau Nearly 2 million AAPI-owned businesses are reported in entertainment, healthcare, hospitality, construction, real estate, tech and other industries as a whole. countless household namesCompanies like YouTube, DoorDash, Old Navy, Peloton, and Notion were founded by Asian Americans.
The need for greater awareness of available resources is another barrier that prevents entrepreneurs from developing successful companies. In this post, discover the advice, organization and services that exist to meet the unique needs of AAPI business owners.
Learn from successful AAPI founders and executives
read books and articles or listen to podcasts, such as this one Featuring Yamini Rangan, CEO of HubSpot, to learn how successful entrepreneurs built and sustained their ventures. They’ll have real-life lessons and perspectives to help you make the right decisions for your ventures.
I connected with a few AAPI founders whose companies have flourished over the years. Here’s some of his wisdom to fuel your success.
1. Don’t wait too long to start building your teams.
Sandro Rocco, Founder and CEO cherish, says, “Don’t wait too long to start building the right team. Especially in a tight labor market, it takes time to find, recruit, hire and onboard the right team members. And so if you wait too long, you’re really behind. Any brand or company that never made it big did so only with the original founding team, and so hiring well is critical.”
2. Fight for abundance.
Kim Pham, Co-Founder omsumsays, “Fight for abundance. My sister and co-founder Vanessa and I fought scarcity intrinsically from being daughters of Vietnamese refugees, and it permeated much of our decision-making (especially in the early days) – But to really build the company of your dreams, you need to fight for that abundance and play to win. That means taking big swings and taking risks, but also choosing comfort, joy and celebration.
3. Practice intention and mindfulness.
Lucia Tran, creative producer and founder of his studioSays, “Everything I do has to be more than just making photos and videos for companies. Otherwise, what are we doing besides selling another product? Having intention and mind in what we offer to the world should – build equity in your company, care about the people you hire and target, and work to bring joy to the world. I’m in the business of uplifting people who need help.”
4. Believe in yourself.
Steffi Lynn, painter, muralist, and founder of have a nice day, says, “Believe in yourself, believe in what you are doing, and keep going. Put yourself out there and be ready for whatever comes your way, because you never know what’s available to you until you try.”
Join your national and local Asian Chamber of Commerce
The Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit business network, not a government organization. Businesses, organizations and individuals can become chamber members to represent their legislative agendas for economic development, job creation, community stability and more at the local, state and national levels.
in addition to US Chamber of CommerceThere are local chambers across the country, including those for minority communities. Becoming a member usually includes access to relationships with other businesses, discounts on services, increased visibility and opportunities to make your voice heard.
Find the local Asian Chamber of Commerce in your city or state by searching Chamber of Commerce DirectoryAnd also check out the organizations below:
(National ACE) is an organization that advocates for economic development and community building for the current and next generation of AAPI entrepreneurs. With ties to Congress, the White House, and federal agencies, National ACE leads a number of initiatives that provide grants, training, programs, and the expansion of AAPI voices. You will read about some of their programs in the following sections.
(USPAACC) is a non-profit organization that serves as an educational and networking organization with gateways to corporate and government contracts, suppliers, and Fortune 1000 companies. USPAACC’s events include business matchmaking, leadership series, legislative advocacy, pitch competitions, conferences and awards.
Grow your network and sharpen your skills
National CAPACD reported That AAPI business owners primarily depend on family and friends for advice and money.
Still, an important step in business development expanding your network, accumulating more opportunities, and learning new skills. Attending events, signing up for workshops, and joining organizations can introduce you to people and resources that will make the entrepreneurial journey less lonely and mysterious. Here are some networks to consider:
- National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD) small business program AAPI provides financial education, coaching and peer technical assistance to help entrepreneurs and small business owners build credit and capital. Most of the business owners served by the program are immigrants or refugees.
- Ace NextGen Young AAPI is a community of entrepreneurs seeking a greater leadership presence in America while feeling fulfilled and supported in their careers. Membership includes access to educational programming, conferences, retreats, and invite-only networking spaces in person and online. ACE NextGen members also have the opportunity to work with national ACEs and Fortune 500 companies to influence business policies.
- Gold House API is best known for increasing the representation of voices and faces in media and entertainment, but it also invests in Asian and Pacific Islander-founded companies. its futures accelerator 12-week program with masterclasses, 1:1 mentoring, fund investments, fundraising support, and a community of start-up entrepreneurs. Gold House also hosts Multicultural Leadership AllianceA consortium of funds that helps place leaders from underrepresented communities on the boards of directors and advisory boards of major private companies.
- Asian Business Association Educates its members on government policies on small businesses. It is active with many community organizations, public agencies, and corporations to represent the views of Asian American business owners. Association members are also encouraged to do business together, participate in events, and recruit new talent by listing positions on the ABA’s job board.
- Asian American Pacific Islander Business Summit is a free virtual event hosted by the US Small Business Administration. Experts lead presentations, panels, and workshops in four tracks: Business Communications and Marketing, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Government Contracting and Business Certification, and Small Business Financial Management and Investment Trends. In 2022, the summit will take place on 13 and 14 November, with presentations in English and some translation options.
apply for a grant
Whether applying for grants and loans securing funding From investors, having more capital will help speed up the process of getting the components you need to run your business – for example, production, employees and marketing.
- Gold House Ventures Connects industry-changing entrepreneurs with investors to accelerate company growth.
- National AC‘s Small Business Resource Center Provides virtual training on accessing capital, applying for grants, understanding government funding, marketing, and more. there is also a program called apistrongWhich works with its 100 affiliated Asian Chambers of Commerce to help businesses affected by the pandemic, racial prejudice and anti-AAPI hatred.
Share your business proudly and be easily discoverable
Some are eager to support minority-owned businesses and often seek them out. Google launched the ability to add a “Asian owned” attributeFor Business Profile, make it easy for customers to find businesses like yours using Google Maps and the search engine. When implementing your traditional and digital marketing, feel free to affirm your AAPI roots.
There is room for your business to flourish, and one important step is to seek help from services and organizations created for that exact purpose. In times to come, these resources can help you build a strong business foundation for generations to come.