It’s no secret that the pandemic has affected every small business owner — just read a few stories from the Hello Alice community elsewhere on our blog. But Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month feels like the perfect time to talk about the unique and urgent challenges facing this country’s 1.3 million AAPI small business owners.
These owners work in sectors most affected by pandemic shutdown orders such as restaurants, nail salons, and other service industries. Language barriers and lack of banking relationships have limited their access to vital government aid such as the Paycheck Protection Program. Most concerning of all, watchdogs have recorded an unacceptable 3,795 hate incidents targeting AAPI individuals over the last year, with small businesses listed as the primary site of discrimination.
These factors all contribute to a huge economic fallout. A recent report from the New York Federal Reserve and AARP found that 90% of small Asian American firms lost revenue in 2020 — a rate higher than Black, Hispanic, or white entrepreneurs. Recent estimates predict that the number of AAPI business owners has decreased by more than a quarter since the pandemic began.
If we are committed to ensuring business for all, it’s time to rally around the AAPI business community and speak out against anti-Asian hatred in every form.
For us, that process starts by recognizing and celebrating the more than 17,000 AAPI owners on Hello Alice who demonstrate incredible resilience, ingenuity, and value every day. We’re talking about pioneers like Monica Wong and Quynh Nguyen, who took a chance to co-found the Bay Area’s first food truck before food trucks were cool; mothers like Krittika Khandelwal, who was monitoring product orders from her baby’s delivery room; and first-generation immigrants like Jiyoon Han, who is helping her entrepreneur parents take the family business to the next level.
We all play a part in these owners’ ongoing success. Every one of us can speak, post, and share our love for AAPI-owned businesses. We can buy their products and pay for their services. Crucially, we can report hate incidents and spread awareness about the threats AAPI owners face.
As part of the path forward, Hello Alice is starting a dialogue with the AAPI business community. What challenges are you facing? Who inspires you? How can we all come together to support your dreams? We invite all business owners to join us on May 25 for a town hall discussion about the current status of the AAPI small business community, and we encourage you to check back as we feature stories of AAPI entrepreneurs throughout the entire month.