Building your small business can be a challenging process for anyone, but some individuals in America may also face many cultural barriers. Many Asian American and Pacific Islander entrepreneurs find themselves seeking access to resources to help build their business. Among those resources are financial support and development tools that can help Asian American and Pacific Islander business owners succeed. AAPI Heritage month may be over, but business season is 12 months per year. With that in mind, here are 8 resources for AAPI entrepreneurs and businesses to scale.
Asian American Business Development Center (AABDC)
The Asian American Business Development Center is a non-profit organization working to increase the presence of AAPI entrepreneurs in the market. AABDC is also working to generate their involvement in fiscal policies that directly affect them. They host several events each year for AAPI business owners, most notably their annual Asian American Business Roundtable (AABR) Summit, featuring speakers from industry giants such as PwC, PepsiCo, and Morgan Stanley. They also have various event programs specifically for entrepreneurial networking and for growing your small business.
Ascend is a business professional organization connecting AAPI entrepreneurs all across North America. It offers many professional perks, such as its Executive Insight Series® for those preparing for executive positions, Inspiring Across Generations (IAG) conferences for students seeking professional mentors, and its annual national convention, a three-day event complete with a career fair, wellness activities, and career development programming. Although it requires a paid membership, Ascend offers discounts for full-time students and offers over 100 events annually.
Asian Professional Exchange (APEX)
The Asian Professional Exchange (APEX) is a non-profit organization working to bring awareness to Asian-owned businesses. They are located in the Southern California region. With over 10,000 current members, APEX promotes its mission through professional events, seminars, fundraisers, and community service opportunities. APEX is notable for its community programs, including their Youth Education Summit (YES) which connects AAPI professionals with high school students and recent graduates, and the APEX Cares volunteer network that works primarily in the Los Angeles area.
Gold House prides itself on being a community of “changemakers” in the entertainment industry. With the help of programming partners Condé Nast and Meta, they accelerate the careers of AAPI creatives through Gold House Futures by providing mentorship and financial grants. Their Founder Network, which is invite-only, connects fellow AAPI entrepreneurs in order to strengthen the AAPI professional community. They also offer the Gold Rush accelerator program, a 12-week intensive with advice on things ranging from advertising and marketing to financing your business.
National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD)
The National CAPACD is a coalition of about 100 local organizations that advocate for low-income AAPI communities. They offer a small business program designed for AAPI entrepreneurs, providing guidance on how to start their own small business. National CAPACD holds an annual convention, providing a three-day agenda of learning about community development and cultural preservation. They also offer a more broad Financial Empowerment program that provides culturally-relevant information like explanations of financial jargon and how to manage business finances.
National Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (National ACE)
The National ACE is an organization seeking to improve the social and business interests of AAPI entrepreneurs. They work to support Asian-owned small businesses and restaurants through funds and grants. They also have a variety of online programs offering professional mentorship. Most famously, they have a community called ACE NextGen that highlights up-and-coming AAPI millennial entrepreneurs. ACE NextGen has a program called Inner Circles, that connects AAPI entrepreneurs and builds a new community over a 12-month period.
National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP)
The NAAAP is a volunteer non-profit organization that enriches AAPI entrepreneurs through professional development and networking events. Their 30 local chapters are incredibly active, and offer social and professional events on a nearly weekly basis. In addition to their paid membership, you may also choose to attend free virtual events. The annual NAAAP Leadership Convention is also an exciting opportunity to diversify your network with fellow AAPI entrepreneurs.
United States Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce (USPAACC)
The USPAACC is one of the largest non-profit organizations for AAPI professionals in a variety of industries. Founded in 1984 and headquartered in Washington D.C., they operate through five main regions throughout the United States. At those regions, they offer regional mentorships, conferences, and other professional events. A game-changer for AAPI-owned businesses is to get certified as minority-owned in order to increase your business interactions with investors, big names, and government agencies. Additionally, USPAACC’s biggest event is the CelebrASIAN Business + Procurement Conference, which invites hundreds of AAPI professionals to collaborate over three eventful days.
Asian American and Pacific Islander-owned businesses have a significant presence in today’s economy. It’s important to continue strengthening the ever-growing network of AAPI entrepreneurs. By utilizing any of these resources, you will not only have the opportunity to grow your business, but also benefit from the rich networks of AAPI mentors and entrepreneurs.