PNW Regional Administrator Fong provides an update on AANHPI small business outreach and engagement

Four images of Regional Administrator Mike Fong engaging with AAPI community members

(Upper and lower left corners) The Pacific Northwest finished AANHPI Heritage Month and World Trade Month strong with the AAPI Exporter Roundtable hosted by Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell and Region 10 Administrator Mike Fong. The roundtable helped to raise the profile of AAPI business owners as well as to have an important discussion on the challenges and opportunities of exporting which Seattle is very well positioned. (Upper and lower right corners) The Filipino small community is woven into the fabric of the Pacific Northwest, and we truly appreciated Coalition of Filipino American Organizations of Washington President Rolly Polintan for putting together a roundtable to find ways to make it stronger.

Mike Fong

In the first few months in my new role as SBA regional administrator, I have prioritized outreach resources to strengthen and renew SBA’s relationships with our local Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) small business community.  As part of our commitment to an equitable recovery from the pandemic, acknowledging that the AANHPI community has had to contend with both the devastating economic impacts of the pandemic but also racism, stigmatization and anti-Asian sentiments tied to COVID.  As such, we want to make sure small business owners from these communities are aware of the tools and resources SBA has available to support them going forward.

Since the beginning of February, our outreach efforts have included:

In addition, we are participating in upcoming events including:

  • A Korean Diaspora event focused on exporting in Seattle, Washington
  • Global Chinese Business Women Workshop in Bellevue, Washington
  • AAPI Small Business Summit in Bellevue, Washington

Finally, in collaboration with the International Examiner, launching a series of articles on AANHPI entrepreneurs in the Pacific NW and their experience working with SBA programs.

Learn about their unique journeys:

“AAPISTRONG” Small Business Roundtable in Seattle:

Asian American Pacific Islander small business owner with RA Mike Fong in group photo.

We were very honored to be a part of the Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ACE) AAPISTRONG small business roundtable in Seattle last month as we work together to uplift, empower, and educate AAPI business owners who continue to be a source of strength for our community.

I just want take a brief moment to thank the hundreds of community members and business owners I have had the chance to meet with from the AANHPI communities but also express my deep appreciation for so many of you sharing with us your stories, experiences from the last couple of years and plans for the future.  What I’ve heard and learned is that while SBA’s brand recognition is at all-time high following our efforts during the pandemic, we have work to do to increase awareness around traditional loan programs, counseling services through resource partners as well as removing barriers to access government contracting opportunities, export assistance and digital capacity building.  At the same time, we need to build more connections through trusted advocates and those that can provide in-language support within the AANHPI business community.  We’ll also continue to disaggregate data and remind ourselves that the AANHPI community is not a monolith and while we have allyship and shared experiences, recognizing disparities among ethnic groups is important as we focus on helping small businesses.

If you have feedback or thoughts on our AANHPI outreach and engagement efforts, please contact us. 

Thanks,

Mike Fong

Article Source: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USSBA/bulletins/31a7ba2