How We Can All Support AAPI Business Owners

A new report from Hello Alice and its partners examines the latest data on what AAPI entrepreneurs need to succeed.

May 24, 2021 · 2 min read
Christina Perla is the co-founder of Makelab, a Brooklyn-based 3D printing shop.

The Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) business community faces unique challenges as it grapples with both a spike in anti-Asian hate incidents and the economic fallout of COVID-19. How can we all protect AAPI owners and help them grow their businesses in the wake of the pandemic? 

These questions are at the heart of a new impact report released by Hello Alice, ACE NextGen, Welcome to Chinatown, the Global Entrepreneurship Network, and Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) in honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Analyzing anonymous user data and survey responses from a growing body of grant applications, Hello Alice releases regular impact reports to better understand various communities of small business owners. This report captures a profile of the more than 17,000 AAPI owners on Hello Alice to shed light on who they are and the challenges they face. 

Key data points include:

  • The majority of AAPI owners on Hello Alice are women (54%) and over 40 (62%).
  • The top three industries for AAPI entrepreneurs on Hello Alice are Food and Beverage (22%), Healthcare and Wellness (13%), and Beauty and Self-Care (12%).
  • 48% of AAPI owners told us that customer referral was their top acquisition channel.
  • 55% of AAPI-owned small businesses generate annual revenue of more than $100,000.

We’ve also gathered stories from AAPI entrepreneurs who are frank about the challenges and rewards of running a small business. One of these owners is Christine Perla, who co-founded Makelab, a 3D printing lab located in Brooklyn. Makelab’s mission is to help startups and small businesses prototype their products so they can design faster.

But before Perla started the business a couple of years ago, she had barely touched a 3D printer at all. She threw herself into the mission once she realized how transformative it was to help fellow makers unlock their creativity, and today she is on the board of the global nonprofit Women in 3D Printing. In 2020, Makelab received a Hello Alice COVID-19 Business for All Emergency Grant, which Perla says helped her retain employees and continue to pursue her newfound passion. 

“It’s crazy to think about,” she says. “3D printing isn’t something you go to school for — it’s something you find yourself following and intentionally moving towards. I definitely felt that, and I never looked back!”

You can hear from more owners and review the full report at the link below. To help us continue the conversation, we also invite you to join us for a Virtual AAPI Town Hall on Tuesday, May 25, at 1:30 p.m. ET. The free event will be an open forum for AAPI owners and allies to share resources and experiences. Registration for the Town Hall is now open.

Download the full Hello Alice Impact Report

If your company or organization is interested in supporting this important work or gaining insights about your community of business owners, please reach out to [email protected]

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact [email protected]