The Best Resources for Asian and Pacific Islander Entrepreneurs

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Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) entrepreneurs own and manage businesses across all industries, including small businesses and corporations. AAPI businesses generate over $707 billion each year, the highest revenue totals of any minority group in the United States, according to the New American Economy.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, 63% of AAPI small-business owners experienced negative effects to their business, more than the average for all small business owners in the United States.

The Kauffman index reports that AAPI entrepreneurs own 6.2% of small businesses in the United States. Despite this large percentage of entrepreneurial business ownership, few AAPI entrepreneurs seek financial assistance from corporations and banks for their business operations.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, 63% of AAPI small-business owners experienced negative effects to their business, more than the average for all small business owners in the United States. The advancement of AAPI entrepreneurial business ventures, like that of all business ventures, relies on continued resource investment.

Scholarships for AAPI MBA students and professional organizations for AAPI entrepreneurs offer invaluable business-related resources. Supporting AAPI entrepreneurs’ needs can mean providing access to cybersecurity, revenue-planning advice, supply chain management tools, corporate contract acquisition support, and leadership development specialists.

National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development

The National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD) is a group of organizations that advocate for low-income AAPI communities, centering housing and economic resource programs.

National CAPACD organizes four major programs that aid AAPI communities.

  • Small Business Program National CAPACD's small business program works to establish, grow, and sustain AAPI entrepreneurs. The program provides entrepreneurs with mentorship, assisting in capital-building and business growth.
  • AAPI Creative Placemaking Learning Circle The learning circle centers AAPI cultures and histories, strengthening a sense of belonging and improving equitable growth opportunities for AAPI communities.
  • Financial Empowerment Program The financial empowerment program focuses on improving financial security for low income AAPIs. Wealth building strategies such as financial coaching support business revenue management.
  • Housing Counseling Program The National CAPACD housing program aids low and moderate income AAPI homeowners and renters. Services provide guidance for safe and affordable housing ventures.

National CAPACD hosts a yearly summit, at which AAPI community leaders share resources, policy recommendations, and economic advancement opportunities. In 2021, the summit focused on the impact of COVID-19 in low-income AAPI communities and efforts to combat the effects of pandemic inequities.

Gold House

Gold House is a nonprofit organization centering unity, representation, and success of AAPI creatives, founders, and executives. Through authentic relationship-building, Gold House elevates the representation of AAPI visionaries with a focus on economic prosperity.

AAPI entrepreneurs can apply for one of two Gold House memberships that align with specified career success criteria. Membership levels require adherence to personal and professional standards, including commitments to collaboration and innovation.

Gold House sponsors multiple programs that uplift the economic success of AAPI entrepreneurs.

  • Gold Open: Gold Open ensures the successful openings of films, television shows, and books with global support plans.
  • Gold Rush: Gold Rush supports AAPI entrepreneurs with a 12-week program focused on product development. Members gain business insights that increase productivity and brand awareness.
  • Founder Network: AAPI entrepreneurs and business leaders accelerate business growth through strategic programming and industry partnerships.
  • Angel Network: Investors in the Angel Network advance AAPI businesses through intensive networking, strategic investments, and cultural leadership. Members attend monthly salons and encourage investment in AAPI ventures.

Asian Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship

The Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (National ACE) is a nonprofit organization advocating for the advancement of AAPI entrepreneurs and leaders. National ACE represents AAPI entrepreneurs through political and legal actions across the country. National ACE provides access to COVID-19 recovery resources, including programmatic supports and research findings.

ACE NextGen, a platform for young AAPI entrepreneurs, supports business success by working to remove barriers and organizing educational programs.

  • Inner Circles provides members with advice from experienced business professionals. Experts offer mentorship to members seeking to problem-solve vulnerable business situations.
  • Level Up is a six-month program focused on new business owners. The program provides valuable webinar experiences and networking events led by accomplished AAPI entrepreneurs.
  • Through Office Hours, ACE NextGen members gain access to business experts who share their experiences and tools for success.

In addition to programs, workshops, and social events, ACE NextGen offers an annual retreat for an intensive entrepreneurial learning experience. Access to National ACE is free, but ACE NextGen requires an application for its four membership tiers.

Asian American Business Development Center

The Asian American Business Development Center (AABDC) uplifts AAPI business owners for their societal contributions. AABDC seeks commitments from AAPI entrepreneurs to assist other business owners through programming and policy actions.

AABDC focuses on restoring AAPI businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through Project Rebuild, AABDC seeks to address the financial, marketing, and legal challenges AAPI entrepreneurs face.

Additional programmatic resources offered by AABDC include:

Center for Asian American Media

The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) broadens public awareness of American livelihoods to represent AAPI experiences across media forms. CAAM showcases AAPI film, television, and digital media on a global scale. Through sponsored programs, funding opportunities, and networking events, CAAM supports the growth of AAPI creative ventures.

CAAM membership consists of three main tiers, each with multiple pricing levels. Members gain access to a collection of CAAM programs and resources, including:

Media Fund
CAAM members can access funding for film and media projects that showcase AAPI stories.
CAAM Fellowships
AAPI media entrepreneurs connect with expert producers, actors, directors, writers, and executives in two distinct, CAAM-sponsored fellowships: the New CAAM Fellowship and the National Multicultural Alliance Fellowship.
A film festival showcasing AAPI media and digital programming, CAAMFest broadcasts films onto a global platform. Selected AAPI filmmakers present their work and media specialists share their expertise throughout the festival.

CAAM hosts accessible programming to its members year round. Their global network and initiatives increase AAPI filmmaking opportunities for entrepreneurs in all aspects of the film industry.

The National Minority Supplier Development Council

The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) provides an educational and corporate networking platform that supports the advancement of minority entrepreneurs. NMSDC matches minority-owned organizations of all sizes with over 1,450 global corporations seeking product investment opportunities.

Once certified as a minority business enterprise, members gain access to the NMSDC corporate and entrepreneurial network of over 12,000 suppliers. Members can access specialized financing options, corporate networking events, and trademarked learning and investment programs.

Emerging Young Entrepreneurs

EYE provides a structured environment for young entrepreneurs to receive business development guidance. Participants gain valuable skills from minority business leaders and corporate executives.

NMSDC Conference and Business Opportunity Exchange

The annual event includes entrepreneur and corporate matchmaking events, company showcases, and workshops tailored to minority businesses.

Corporate Plus

Entrepreneurs with established national success can expand their publicity and corporate access through NMSDC associations.

Leadership Week

The week-long summit provides learning opportunities for NMSDC members. Minority business leaders and national executives offer educational support, intensive training, and entrepreneurial success awards.

The AAPI population growth rate from 2010-2017 totaled 25.7%, an increase of 4.6 million people, which in turn has led to AAPI entrepreneurial growth. Resources for AAPI entrepreneurs provide critical development and sustainability support. Networking, sharing resources, and advancing business skills continue to provide valuable growth opportunities for AAPI entrepreneurs.

Reviewed by:

Portrait of Angelique Geehan

Angelique Geehan

Angelique works to support and repair the people’s connections to themselves and to their families, communities, and cultural practices. She builds intergenerationally, with a commitment to transformative justice and to questioning and depolarizing the beliefs and practices that can lead to isolation and feelings of powerlessness. She also commits to co-creating or reclaiming ways of promoting resilience and healing from historical and social harms.

A queer, Asian, gender nonconforming parent, Angelique founded Interchange, a consulting group that offers anti-oppression support through materials and process assessments, staff training, and community building. She organizes as a part of National Perinatal Association’s Health Equity Workgroup, the Health and Healing Justice Committee of the National Queer and Trans Asian and Pacific Islander Alliance, the Houston Community Accountability and Transformative Justice Collective, the Taking Care Study Group, QTPOC+ Family Circle, and Batalá Houston.

Angelique Geehan is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education freelance review network.

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