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Impact Reports

3 Emerging Small Business Digital Marketing Trends in 2022

Small and medium-sized businesses are doubling down on digital marketing platforms as a way to reach new audiences and grow their businesses, according to a new Hello Alice Research Report on digital marketing trends in 2022. Hello Alice surveyed a sample of the more than 800,000 small business owners on its platform. Our goal? To learn more about how small businesses are leveraging digital platforms for growth. The research focused on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and Snapchat as the primary digital marketing platforms used by small businesses.  Among the SMBs surveyed, the majority of those currently leveraging digital marketing platforms have been in operation for less than five years. Additionally, most are businesses that sell products, particularly in the beauty and self-care industries, and are more likely to pursue digital marketing. Finally, most SMBs report using multiple platforms to reach their digital marketing goals.  When evaluating the underlying motivations of SMB digital marketing efforts, three key trends emerged. Key Trend #1: Affordability Is a Top Concern for Small Business Owners Choosing a Platform First, the majority of SMBs leveraging digital marketing platforms are new or emerging businesses that value affordability above all else. Facebook came first in terms of SMBs’ perceived value for their marketing dollar. That said, 45% of SMBs who use digital platforms don’t engage in any paid marketing, relying solely on organic efforts. In sum, SMBs said they find the most effective organic reach on: Facebook (68%)Instagram (66%)TikTok (51%) Key Trend #2: Creative Storytelling Is Key for Small Businesses Of course, storytelling is a highly effective marketing tool. However, this is especially true for small businesses seeking to forge a connection between consumers and their brand. In response, digital marketers are looking for easy-to-use features that enable dynamic storytelling in a variety of formats. Approximately two-thirds of small business owners said that TikTok helps them tell stories in a creative way (67%), outpacing established competitors including Instagram (65%), YouTube (58%), Facebook (55%), and Snapchat (51%). Key Trend #3: Platform Sentiments Are Shifting To date, small businesses see Facebook and Instagram as their go-to marketing platforms. In fact, a majority of SMBs credit their success on these platforms and growth in the form of: hiring new employeesopening new locationsreaching new audiences However, this is changing as Facebook usage declines and TikTok usage dramatically grows. Business owners are taking note. In turn, they are shifting their platform strategies to meet customers where they are. Unsurprisingly, word of mouth recommendations are driving this shift significantly. For example, 43% of small business owners are now likely to join TikTok because they’ve heard reports of efficacy from fellow business owners. By contrast, only 23% said the same about Facebook. These peer recommendations correspond with digital platforms that allow SMBs to introduce their brands and engage their audiences in more dynamic ways. Of the five major platforms, SMBs indicated that they are most excited about their growth potential on Instagram (72%) and TikTok (67%). How to Explain the Growing Popularity of TikTok Despite being the newest platform, TikTok overwhelmingly stands out as an emerging key player. SMBs said it was the platform they were most excited to use in the future. Among SMBs already on TikTok, 78% said they plan to increase their investment in the platform — the highest rate of all platforms surveyed. The survey asked SMBs what qualities and features they valued in various digital platforms. Key factors that set TikTok apart from competitors include: Ease of Use Of SMBs using TikTok, 81% said it was easy to use, and 73% said it was fun to use. Audience Reach & Engagement Interstingly, when ranking the most valuable aspects of using TikTok to promote their businesses, “reaching new audiences” came out on top, followed by the “ability to get discovered” and “reaching the right audience for the business.” Business Growth Notably, while 58% of SMBs using TikTok have been on the platform for less than six months, they're generating fast results. For instance, fifty-nine percent said TikTok helped grow revenue. Meanwhile, 42% said TikTok helped them safeguard their business against the impact of the pandemic. Finally, 32% said TikTok helped them raise capital. Interestingly, the most common reasons SMBs said they were not on TikTok were that it seems too complicated and that the platform has a narrow, youth-focused audience. This indicates a clear need for TikTok to better educate small businesses about its creative tools, ease of use, and broad audience reach. More Resources & Context View and Download the Full Digital Marketing Trends in 2022 Research Report About This Digital Marketing Trends 2022 Report & Surveys Hello Alice conducted three surveys ​​to better understand how Hello Alice SMBs use digital platforms to market their businesses. The first survey compared five platforms: FacebookInstagramTikTokYouTubeSnapchat We covered three broad categories: Platform UseImpact and ValueBusiness Objectives Data was collected about personal and business demographics as well. The second and third surveys focused more specifically on these three broad categories as related to users’ experiences with TikTok. About Hello Alice Hello Alice is a free, multichannel platform that helps businesses launch and grow. With a community of more than 750,000 business owners in all 50 states, Hello Alice is building the largest network of owners in the country. Further, Hello Alice tracks data and trends to increase the success rate for entrepreneurs. Our partners include enterprise business services, government agencies, and institutions looking to serve small and medium business owners to ensure increased revenues and promote scale. A Latina- owned company founded by Carolyn Rodz and Elizabeth Gore, we believe in business for all by providing access to all owners, including: women, people of color, military-connected individuals, the LGBTQ+ community, persons with disabilities, and every American with an entrepreneurial spirit. For more small business tips and inspiration create a free account on Hello Alice or subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
Jun 16, 2022 • 4 min read
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Small Business Funding

Announcing the BGE Energizing Small Business Grants Recipients

We’re proud to announce the recipients of the BGE Energizing Small Business Grants! What is the BGE Energizing Small Business Grants Program? BGE has pledged $15 million to assist Maryland’s small businesses with COVID-19 relief and recovery. With support and guidance from Hello Alice and the Global Entrepreneurship Network, BGE created the Energizing Small Business Grants program which provides recipients $20,000 grants. Hundreds of recipients have already been announced as part of the 2021 funding rounds! The BGE Energizing Small Business Grants Recipients To qualify for the first round of 2022 funding, Maryland-based, for-profit businesses had to be founded in or prior to 2020, be in good standing with the State of Maryland, have fewer than 25 employees, have a gross annual revenue of less than $7M for 2021, and be able to demonstrate a need for funding that supports their business and serves their customers. Congratulations to all BGE Energizing Small Business Grants recipients! Round 1 Grant Recipients, 2022 Round 3 Grant Recipients, 2021 Round 2 Grant Recipients, 2021 Round 1 Grant Recipients, 2021 For more small business funding opportunities and inspiration create a free account on Hello Alice or subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
Jun 15, 2022 • < 1 min read
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Company Announcements

Now Announcing: The Local Business Support Fund Grant Recipients

We’re proud to announce the first round of recipients of the Local Business Support Fund grant program! What is the Local Business Support Fund? Hello Alice and the Global Entrepreneurship Network, in partnership with LISC,  are awarding $5,000 grants to five small businesses that provide solutions in their local communities. Along with generating less than $1M in annual revenue, these small businesses share a steadfast commitment to their customers and community, and a clear plan to use their grant funds! ”The funds from this grant will help launch our grassroots marketing campaign as we not only raise awareness of The Young Musician's University but also the importance and many benefits of music education," says recipient Tembi Gray of the GMG Performing Arts Center. The recipients listed below will receive a $5,000 grant. Congratulations to all these inspiring entrepreneurs! Local Business Support Fund Grant Recipients Tembi Gray GMG Performing Arts Center | Columbia, SC Kenneth Woods Refresherpoint | Clarksville, IN LaTeasha Gaither-Davis Therapeutic Focus | West Memphis, AR Virginia George Crafts & Drafts NC | Durham, NC Suzanne Daniels Brentwood Social House | Austin, TX Do you need funding for your small business? Visit the Hello Alice Funding Center to view our current grant programs and subscribe to the Hello Alice newsletter to stay up-to-date on future programs and funding opportunities. 
Jun 14, 2022 • < 1 min read
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Small Business Funding

Meet the Sonoma County Alliance Small Business Opportunity Fund Recipients

We’re proud to announce the recipients of the Sonoma County Alliance Small Business Opportunity Fund! What is the Sonoma County Alliance Small Business Opportunity Fund? The Sonoma County Alliance is a coalition of business, agriculture, labor, and individuals organized to encourage a healthy economy, maintain a sound environment, protect private property rights, and promote a responsive political process.  Understanding that raising capital or finding loans is one of the greatest challenges facing small business owners today, this multi-year small business grant program supports the rejuvenation and growth of the Sonoma County community, prioritizing business owners who traditionally lack access to capital. Grants between $1,000 and $5,000 will be awarded to local businesses looking to make a capital investment in their future. Sonoma County Alliance Small Business Opportunity Fund Recipients To qualify, for-profit businesses located in Sonoma County had to be in operation for at least a year and have fewer than 25 employees.  The recipients all have big plans and big dreams and know exactly how to use these funds to help their businesses grow. Congratulations to all recipients listed below. They'll each receive a grant between $1,000 and $5,000! Round 1 Recipients Ariel Coddington Bodega Country Store | Bodega, CA Ashlyn Elizabeth McLean Encore Dance Studio | Cloverdale, CA Gabriella Johnson Soul Work Healthcare | Santa Rosa, CA Joe Meisch Temple Massager | Cazadero, CA Roberta Ryan Ryan Design | Graton, CA Visit the Hello Alice Funding Center to view our current grant programs and subscribe to the Hello Alice newsletter to stay up-to-date on future programs and funding opportunities. 
Jun 10, 2022 • < 1 min read
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Small Business Funding

Antares REACH Grant Program to Award $20,000 Grants to Eligible Small Businesses

Big news for small businesses: Antares, Hello Alice and the Global Entrepreneurship Network have teamed up to provide funding for small business gearing up to grow. All you need to do is apply. What is the Antares REEACH Grant Program? The Antares REACH Grant Program will provide $20,000 grants to small businesses, with an emphasis on businesses preparing for their next stage of growth; operated by historically underrepresented entrepreneurs; and providing important community services.  Eligibility To be eligible, a business must: Be a for-profit business that is majority (51%) owned and/or operated by individuals who identify as New Majority (Womxn, People of Color, Military-affiliated, Persons with Disabilities, or LGBTQ+)Have less than $5 million USD in annual revenueHave a demonstrated need for supportHave a strong plan for moving forward.  For a full list of eligibility criteria, please see the terms and conditions. The Antares REACH Grant Program represents the intersection of connected charitable giving; community engagement; and deep commitment to diversity and inclusion.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=29&v=xRXzEGPCfjQ&feature=emb_logo How to Apply Visit the funding center to learn more about the program and apply for the grant today!
Jun 9, 2022 • < 1 min read
Small Business Funding

The Beyond Yoga For Women, BY Women Grant Recipients

We’re proud to announce the recipients of the Beyond Yoga For Women, BY Women grant and virtual coaching program.  What is the Beyond Yoga For Women, BY Women Grant and Virtual Coaching Program? This initiative provides 10 woman-owned companies with virtual coaching from Beyond Yoga executives and one grand prize of $10,000 plus mentorship from Michelle Wahler, co-founder of Beyond Yoga. Meet the Grand Prize Grant Recipient The recipient of the grand prize is Tonia Simone Holloway, registered nurse, herbalist, educator, and founder of The Beloved Bodies in Fayetteville, Georgia! Founded in 2018, her mission-driven, holistic healthcare business serves as a wellness hub and family resource to help marginalized communities, especially women, develop a healthy lifestyle and enrich their wellbeing. It also strives to partner with local clinics, schools, shelters, and organizations to provide health education, resources, and outreach to empower nearby underserved communities and increase their access to wellness services. How Tonia Will Use the Grant Tonia Simone plans to use the $10,000 to pour back into The Beloved Bodies’ community outreach initiatives and develop a private health portal. “I am thrilled to be the recipient of this grant and growth opportunity for my company!” she says. “With all that is going on in the world today, it’s even more imperative to take a real look at what thriving health and happiness means to you, and to start cultivating that experience in the real world, with self-sufficiency and sustainability in mind.” Other Recipients Along with Tonia Simone, nine more impressive recipients — all women entrepreneurs who are also in the first five years of their business and ready to make their mark on their communities — will now have the opportunity to work with leaders from Beyond Yoga to help them get to their next big milestone. Congratulations to these female founders! Check out the virtual coaching program awardees below, and visit the Small Business Funding Center to find more grant opportunities and lending options! Virtual Coaching Program Awardees Michelle El Khoury YOGAMAZIA | Richboro, PA  Cherlyn Hayes Beauty Beyond the Crown | McLean, VA Chaliyah Penick Penick Integrative Acupuncture | Pine Hill, NJ  Hallan Hanson Latchpad | Brooklyn, NY  Donnella Andraos I AM Movement | Irvine, CA   Sukie Jefferson Sukie's Candle Co. | Renton, WA   Alexis Russell Inspiring Experiences | Rochester, NY Bhavya Rai INELEGANCIES | Cary, NC   Desiree Gaitan-Buchanan POPLINEN | Burbank, CA For more small business grant opportunities create a free account on Hello Alice or subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
Jun 6, 2022 • 2 min read
Small Business Funding

Announcing the KKR Small Business Builders Grant Program for Female Founders Grant Recipients

We’re proud to announce the recipients of the KKR Small Business Builders Grant Program for Female Founders grant program, presented in partnership with the Global Entrepreneurship Network and Hello Alice! What is the KKR Small Business Builders Grant Program? Launched in the early days of the pandemic, the program was created as a key pillar of KKR's COVID-19 Relief Effort with the goal of supporting small business owners around the world. Hundreds of owners have since been named recipients in Rounds 1–6 of the program! 2022 Female Founders Grant Recipients Now in Round 7, the program is investing in woman-identifying entrepreneurs, with an emphasis on New Majority owners who've pivoted their business in response to the pandemic and provide important community services.  These recipients share a commitment to serving their communities and furthering their missions, along with the tenacity it takes to navigate the path of entrepreneurship during challenging times. All recipients receive a $10,000 grant to help their small businesses recover and grow.  Do you need funding for your small business? Visit the Hello Alice Funding Center to view our current grant programs and subscribe to the Hello Alice newsletter to stay up-to-date on future programs and funding opportunities.  Congratulations to these KKR Small Business Builders Grant Program for Female Founders grant recipients:
Jun 1, 2022 • < 1 min read
Small Business Tips and Tools

51 Helpful Small Business Discounts for Entrepreneurs

Running a small business is no easy task, as any business owner will tell you. But different products or services exist to make the large undertaking a bit easier. But how do you justify the amount of money some of these products cost? After all, small business owners want to cut costs, not incur them, where they can. Luckily, the Hello Alice Business Solution Center is here to help! When you join as a free member on Hello Alice, you'll gain access to exclusive discounts, deals, and events available in our Business Solution Center. Here are just some of the incredible offerings you'll find there: Accounting Small Business Discounts Bench, bookkeeping and tax for small business owners. Get 30% off your first 3 months of bookkeeping. Collective, an online concierge financial platform designed for the self-employed. Get 1 month free. Complyant, a digital tax assistant tool. Two months of premium-tier free for 1 business. Quickbooks. Free 30-day trial and up to 50% off online accounting software. Ned, easy revenue sharing. Get 25% off when you raise money from friends and family. TurboTax, tax services. Save up to $15 on TurboTax products. Banking Small Business Discounts NorthOne, a simple and fast Business Deposit Account. Join via Hello Alice to get no fees on your first 3 months of banking. Novo. Free business checking account, no monthly fees, and over $5,000 in perks. Co-Working Spaces Small Business Discounts Loom, asynchronous video messaging. Get 20% off your first 12 months of recording and sharing video messages. GoTo Meeting, online meeting and video conferencing software. Try free for 14 days and get up to 16% off. Smart Furniture. Get 10% off modern chairs, tables, desks, and contemporary designs for homes and offices. Office Designs. Take 10% off modern office furniture. Ecommerce Small Business Discounts Bulk Office Supply. Get an additional 5% off already discounted office supplies. Discount Electronics. Save up to $1,000 on used Dell laptops & computers (includes 1-year warranty). DoorDash. Get 0% commission for your first 30 days. Office Depot OfficeMax. Get free in-store and curbside pickup NOW IN 20 MINUTES or get $20 off your next qualifying purchase. Sellzone by Semrush. Amazon SEO & PPC made easy. Get 1 month for $1. Uber Eats for Restaurants. Restaurant owners and managers: enjoy 0% commission for the first 30 days on all orders. Yelp for Restaurants. Automatically receive a $100 visa gift card when you complete a demo and receive 3 months free if you purchase an annual subscription. Zoro, industrial supplies, HVAC equipment, MRO products, and much more. Get free shipping on orders over $50. Electronics Small Business Discounts Audeze, a high-performance compact wireless conference speaker. Save 10% on Bluetooth conference speakers with proprietary noise-cancellation. Carbonite, hard drive backup services. Get 10% off hard drive backup.  GearIT, cable solutions. Get 15% off premium cable solutions and consumer electronics accessories. GoTo Connect, cloud phone system. Get a 14-day free trial. Grasshopper, virtual phone system. Try a 7-day, no-commitment free trial. Iolo, PC tune-up software. Get 70% off System Mechanic Ultimate Defense, System Mechanic Pro, or System Mechanic. Lorex, security. Get 10% off security cameras and systems. TechForLess, refurbished, open box or new computers, laptops, tablets, electronics, and more. Save 10-50%. Verizon Business, fiber-optic network and digital voice.  HR and Payroll Small Business Discounts ADP, online payroll and HR solutions. Three months free payroll when you sign up. Fiverr, a freelance services catalog. Get 10% off your first purchase. Marketer Hire, freelance marketer catalog. Get $500 off your next freelance marketer project. Oyster HR, onboarding, benefits, payroll, HR, and compliance services. Get your first hire free during the first 12 months. Roll by ADP, payroll services. Get the first four months free. ZipRecruiter, job board. Post a job for free via Hello Alice’s link. Insurance Small Business Discounts Breeze, personal disability insurance plans for small business owners and their employees. Ladder lets you save money on life insurance premiums with flexible coverage. Join through Hello Alice for instant approval. Hiscox, business insurance. Get a free quote. Marketing and Branding Small Business Discounts Adobe, photo editing software. Try Adobe Stock free for one month and access millions of high-quality creative assets. Canva, online graphic design tool. Get 20% off one year of Canva Pro. Constant Contact, email marketing solution. Buy today and save 40% off three months. GoDaddy, website hosting, domain, and support services. Get up to 30% off your first year. Google Workspace, collaboration and productivity apps. Try free for 14 days. HostGator, website hosting, domain, and support services. Get up to 65% off new website hosting plus a free domain. HubSpot, full platform of marketing, sales, customer service, and CRM software. Free 14-day trial at the provided link. Microsoft Advertising, pay-per-click advertising management. Get $100 in search advertising when you spend $25 in Microsoft Advertising via the link. Squarespace, all-in-one website or store solution. Save 10% off your first subscription of a website or domain. Sprout Social, all-in-one social media management software. Try free for 30 days. VistaPrint, marketing materials print company. Receive 20% off printed marketing materials, business signs, and promotional products plus free shipping over $75 for new customers. Sales Small Business Discounts Shippo, professional shipping solution. Get your first three months of multi-carrier shipping software for e-commerce free. Stamps.com, postage and shipping solution. Use the link to receive $45 in postage coupons and a free digital scale ($50 value). How to Access These Savings Sign up for a free membership with Hello Alice to access these small business discounts and more! Hello Alice’s Business Solutions Center curates tools, exclusive offers, and premium content to help you save time and money while growing your business. Check back regularly for the latest offers. For more small business tips and inspiration create a free account on Hello Alice or subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
May 19, 2022 • 4 min read
Inspiring Stories of Our Owners

3 AAPI Founders on Building Their Delicious Food Brands

Hello Alice supports over 600,000 small business owners, nearly 7% of which identify as Asian American or Pacific Islander (AAPI). According to our data, AAPI owners are the most heavily concentrated community operating in Food and Beverage among our owner base — 23% own businesses in this industry. To celebrate, we’re highlighting some of our favorite, family-owned and -inspired AAPI small businesses that deliver you delicious drinks and snacks.  Sajani Amarasiri, Owner of Kola Goodies Kola Goodies sells teas and superfoods with ingredients directly sourced from South Asian farmer collectives. What were you doing before you started your small business? I came to the U.S. at the age of 19 for university. After graduating, I began my career working at Microsoft and Amazon, specializing in operations and tech supply chains, before I dove into my passion for connecting my Sri Lankan roots to modern life. Even during my corporate stint, I had many small side hustles. I left corporate and founded the first community-focused coworking space in Sri Lanka, called Colombo Cooperative, before connecting my eastern roots with my entrepreneurial aspirations to launch Kola Goodies, hoping to bring foods and herbs that I grew up eating to the wellness-minded consumers of the U.S. How would you describe your small business and your role in it? Is there anything special you’d like to share about it? Kola Goodies is the first DTC Sri-Lankan beverage company offering superfood lattes and milk tea inspired by my heritage, all made with ingredients sourced directly from farmers in South Asia. Within my company, I’m the CEO/Founder and as such take on many different roles — from marketing to operations to supply chain management (it’s always about the supply chain!) and everything in between. In our first full year of business, we have gone back to our roots to create a supply chain from scratch, created two first-to-market products (Kola Goodies Sri Lankan Milk tea and our Super Green Latte), and we have largely focused on sharing our products direct-to-consumers. But we’ve started to partner with experiential brands, like Boba Guys, to offer our Sri Lankan-sourced products to the masses.  Are there any challenges or unique opportunities you’d like to describe that come with being an entrepreneur? There are so many challenges and unique opportunities that come along with being a founder — in my case, the first great challenge was establishing a company in a place where I had little network, family, and support. However, this also ended up being one of our great opportunities — it’s all about taking your “weaknesses” and pivoting them into strengths. In this case, I realized, as an immigrant, I had unique insight into consumers in the U.S. and could leverage my community, use deep insights into my culture, and create products that would delight customers here while benefiting farmers in Sri Lanka and use my network there to source ethically, tactfully, and with intention.  What inspires you as an entrepreneur and small business owner?  My parents! They came from humble beginnings in Sri Lanka and built up from scratch. My parents dedicated so much to give us more than what they had and that keeps me going everyday.  I’m also inspired by the breadth of women founders, particularly AAPI women founders — many of whom are immigrants or first gen — who have boot-strapped their businesses, bringing tastes of their family’s lives to the public. It’s incredible to be part of such a huge moment, and I’m constantly inspired by the energy and momentum that’s been created. What would your advice be for aspiring entrepreneurs? Where do I start? I feel like I learn something new every day, mainly through making mistakes. The first I would say is a popular quote by Marie Forleo — “Clarity comes from engagement and not thought.” Clarity isn’t intellectual, it’s built through experience, guidance, and trial-and-error. So without waiting for the perfect time to start, just get started. Start while you have a full time job, get the experimental phase for your company done on someone else's dime, and in the future, pay it forward for someone else.  The second is to build your network and support system around you. Being an immigrant founder, this network wasn’t established for me. Over time, it’s become a backbone of how I push my company forward. Being an entrepreneur is not about having everything figured out; it’s about being a master problem solver and creating innovative solutions with limited resources — so apply that framework to all obstacles that come your way. Pooja Bavishi, Founder and CEO of Malai Malai makes decadent ice cream flavors using South Asian flavors and ingredients available to taste at their flagship location in Brooklyn, NY or in pints at select retailers. What were you doing before you started your small business? Before I started my business, I worked in the nonprofit world. I have degrees in public policy and urban planning. But I always knew that I would "eventually" start a dessert business. The "aha moment" for starting Malai came when I made ice creams infused with the Indian spices that were so familiar to me. I’d found a way to finally start that dessert business and tell my story. How would you describe your small business and your role in it? Is there anything special you’d like to share about it?  An artisanal ice cream company, Malai focuses on South Asian spices and ingredients. We create never-before-seen flavors that tell the stories of my upbringing. Although my role has changed considerably from when Malai first started in 2015, I still conceptualize every flavor we develop (along with growing the business!).  Are there any challenges or unique opportunities you’d like to describe that come with being an entrepreneur? Like most entrepreneurs, I’ve dealt with imposter syndrome. For a long time, only I believed I was uniquely solving a problem and my product was the best in a certain market. Dozens of people struck that down. While it was important to listen and get their feedback, it was challenging to not let it get to me. Sometimes, I felt like I didn’t belong or that I wouldn’t succeed. So, in those early days, I made sure to keep my tribe close. I made sure that the people who loved me most were there to give me support and perspective when it all became a little cloudy.  What inspires you as an entrepreneur and small business owner?   First and foremost, my family. My flavor inspiration comes from them. These ice creams are based on my food memories from growing up! But they immeasurably support and believe in me. My parents have been entrepreneurs for my entire life. They've dealt with their own ups and downs while still encouraging me to pursue my dreams. I am also constantly inspired by other businesses. I love seeing new businesses pop up. Seeing founders really going after what they want is powerful.  What would your advice be for aspiring entrepreneurs?   Really learn your craft. You will eventually hire a team that is amazing and will do things better than you, but you should know your industry inside and out. Live and breathe the company, the mission, the competitors, the customers — everything should be about how you can create and be the best. When you are that involved, you will develop confidence in knowing what you can achieve.  Ashley Xie and Hedy Yu, Co-Founders of Rooted Fare LA-based Rooted Fare makes modern Chinese American pantry staples such as their tasty black sesame crunchy butter. What were you doing before you started your small business? As second-generation Chinese Americans, we grew up in two worlds that were sometimes hard to navigate. As we got older and went to college, we realized how little access we had to our culture and started to appreciate our Chinese heritage more — especially through food. How would you describe your small business and your role in it? Is there anything special you’d like to share about it?   We created Rooted Fare to make fun, modern Chinese-American pantry staples that are nostalgic yet novel. We use unique ingredients and flavors from both our childhoods and our lived experiences in America. "Rooted" refers to our roots, or heritage, while "fare" stands for "food" that sustains. What inspires you as an entrepreneur and small business owner?   Building a food brand and community rooted in heritage and togetherness humbles and excites us. We also love we can play and be creative! What would your advice be for aspiring entrepreneurs?   Experiment! Two years ago, Ashley and her aunt made sweet tang yuan for Chinese New Year and she wondered how it’d taste as a spread. She took some of the ground black sesame seeds, lard, and brown sugar. On a whim, she added breadcrumbs. It became our first product: Black Sesame Crunchy Butter. Check out these small businesses, and continue to support the AAPI community year round! In honor of AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Month, join Team Hello Alice and friends at 2:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, May 25, 2022, for a webinar on finding small business success and celebrating culture. Hear from and connect with inspiring AAPI small business owners who will be offering their top tips and answering your questions live! Register now for this FREE event. For more small business tips and inspiration create a free account on Hello Alice or subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
May 19, 2022 • 6 min read

3 Lessons About AAPI Small Business Owners in 2022

What are the unique challenges and triumphs of the AAPI small business community, and what can corporate America do to support this demographic of owners moving forward?  To discuss this crucial topic, Erica Chan, head of brand, experience, and insights, B2B North America for Alibaba.com, Darien Siguenza, program manager for Hawai’i FoundHer, and Hello Alice Co-Founder and President Elizabeth Gore gathered to offer their perspectives as business leaders. Here are some lessons for enterprise leaders looking to support AAPI small businesses everywhere. 1) The Challenges of AAPI Small Business Owners Are Both Different and the Same On one hand, AAPI business owners face the same challenges as anyone else. Pandemic shutdowns, inflation, supply chain shortages, and other macroeconomic trends will continue to plague owners through 2022 and beyond.  “Whether you’re AAPI or not, there are shared challenges,” said Chan. “Last year, it was supply chain challenges.” Even so, Hello Alice identified hiring as a growing and unique challenge for AAPI owners. Survey data showed a 42% percent year-over-year increase in the number of AAPI owners reporting hiring as a top barrier to growth; the top industry for AAPI owners is also Food and Beverage, a sector that shouldered the burden of pandemic restrictions and over-indexed for layoffs. As the economy fully reopens, AAPI owners in particular face an uphill battle as they staff up to meet renewed demand. In addition, the AAPI community continues to experience a rise in racist violence and hate crimes.  Business leaders focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion should continue to conduct intentional outreach to meet the AAPI community’s specific needs. “We cannot just pay lip service but offer actual support and acknowledge that times are tough,” Chan said. 2) Culturally Competent Solutions Will Actually Solve Problems for AAPI Small Business Owners Panelists agreed that one-size-fits-all solutions will not produce universal results. Enterprise and business support organizations must tailor their efforts to account for unique circumstances surrounding race, culture, gender, and other distinguishing factors.   According to Sigueza, Hawai’i FoundHer started during the pandemic as one of the first accelerators for women, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawai’ians. This filled a gap left unaddressed by other entrepreneurship programs. “I’ve worked in a couple of accelerators, and the values are very different," said Siguenza. "Here in Hawai'i, founders are deeply rooted in community, in culture, and wanting to make an impact on the environment and their families. Being able to facilitate that in person was really important for us.” As a program for women, FoundHer also addresses childcare — a responsibility that disproportionately falls on mothers — by automatically providing those services in addition to non-dilutive grant funds and mentorship. This allows women to focus their full attention on building their business from the ground up. Gore lauded FoundHer’s childcare pillar. She and her co-founder, Carolyn Rodz, were both raising young children while getting Hello Alice off the ground.  “We ended up moving in together and sharing childcare,” Gore said. “I cannot say how important it is to have that unique offering.” 3) There Is No Substitute for Capital Access According to Hello Alice data, AAPI owners are unique in their lack of optimism. Only 28% of AAPI owners reported that their business is steady and they are confident it will stay afloat. That's nearly 10 percentage points lower than the overall population. Unsurprisingly, the top two challenges cited by AAPI owners were growth and finding capital. Supporting growth means many things. Entrepreneurs need tools, mentorship, and access to networks — but they fundamentally need cash flow.  “What we’ve realized is that to support small businesses and help them grow, we don’t just need to provide tools and services — what’s equally important is content, community, and access to capital,” Chan said. Ultimately, panelists acknowledged that funding is the fuel that amplifies all else. “Women entrepreneurs are over-mentored and underfunded,” Siguenza said. “They really need the capital to take their incredible ideas and push them to the next level.“ More Resources To hear the full discussion and discover more insights surrounding AAPI owners, be sure to check out the complete recording. Watch It Now! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkY9lCfcoK0 For more small business tips and inspiration create a free account on Hello Alice or subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
May 12, 2022 • 3 min read