In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, the SBA’s Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives highlighted the role of AAPI community leaders in promoting and assisting local economic growth on Main Street, strengthening America as a global leader and helping develop the next generation of startup entrepreneurs and business leaders.
As President Obama stated in his proclamation “During Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we celebrate the accomplishments of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, and we reflect on the many ways they have enriched our Nation. Like America itself, the AAPI community draws strength from the diversity of its many distinct cultures -- each with vibrant histories and unique perspectives to bring to our national life. Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders have helped build, defend, and strengthen our Nation -- as farm workers and railroad laborers; as entrepreneurs and scientists; as artists, activists, and leaders of government. They have gone beyond, embodying the soaring aspirations of the American spirit.”
The SBA is proud to support and work with Asian American and Pacific Islanders across the country. AAPI community leaders and organizations are crucial partners as educators, conveners and advocates for small business networks at the local and national level.
On May 20, I was honored to participate on a panel at the Korean Churches for Community Development Annual Legislative Summit in Washington, DC to share our commitment to the AAPI community, and highlight some of the important programs where we are working closely together: the 8(a) Business Development Program that assists disadvantaged businesses in their growth, the HUBZone Program that encourages business development in historically underutilized business zones through contracting opportunities, and the Community Advantage Loan Program– just to name a few.
I was particularly excited to meet with and hear from a group of student Ambassadors from colleges and universities across the country as many are graduating this month and were interested to learn more about how the SBA is helping launch and support the next wave of entrepreneurs and startups.
The highlight for me was serving as a judge in a mock funding pitch competition, and getting to hear many of the students’ incredible ideas and impressive launch, marketing and growth strategies.
We know how important training and mentorship opportunities like this can be for young professionals and hopeful entrepreneurs, and recognize organizations like KCCD and many others across the country that help support and facilitate them.
You can learn more about SBA resources at SBA.gov.