Portrait of a craftsman wearing an apron looking away from the camera.
More than three million businesses in the U.S. are owned by AAPI entrepreneurs, and AAPI women are one of the fastest-growing entrepreneur demographics. — Getty Images/JGalione

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. More than three million businesses in the U.S. are owned by members of this community, and AAPI women are one of the fastest-growing demographics of entrepreneurs.

Some of the world’s most successful businesses are owned or founded by AAPI entrepreneurs, including Yahoo!, YouTube, LinkedIn, Peloton, and Zappos. BCG reports that more than 26% of all billion-dollar-valued startups over the last two decades have had at least one AAPI co-founder.

Not all AAPI businesses can access the resources necessary to reach this level of achievement, however. Many AAPI business owners face the entrenched obstacles that other minority entrepreneurs contend with. Fortunately, resources are dedicated to helping AAPI businesses overcome common barriers to entry across industries. Here are a few funding and networking opportunities AAPI entrepreneurs can use to start, grow, and run a business.

AAPI funding and grants

Funding is one of the biggest challenges for AAPI business owners. “While there are dozens of professional networks to connect these women with mentors, ‘very few’ provide the capital they need to grow and sustain their businesses in the long term,” reported CNBC.

AAPI business owners can look to the following organizations for funding opportunities:

  • FoundHer: An accelerator program tailored specifically to the needs of Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and/or Asian women and mothers starting businesses. Thus far, FoundHer has awarded $240,000 to 10 companies.
  • AAPISTRONG: This program from the National Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (National ACE) provides grants and other support to combat racism against AAPI business owners. To date, AAPISTRONG has given $8 million in grants to AAPI small business owners.
  • Asian Women Giving Circle: This unique model is an all-volunteer group of Asian American women in New York City who fund projects led by Asian American women artists and community groups. To date, the group has given $1 million to activist groups and organizations.
  • Gold House Ventures: This fund invests in Asian and Pacific Islander (API) entrepreneurs whose companies are transforming industries. It also offers a startup accelerator.
  • SBA loans: SBA 7(a) loans can be used for various purposes, including expanding your business, securing more working capital, and procuring equipment. These loans often offer low-interest rates and long repayment terms. You’re competing with other minority-owned small businesses, but SBA 7(a) loans can be a good option for AAPI business owners. And since the White House announced its initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, you may have a competitive advantage in being approved for a government-backed loan.
  • Asian Pacific Community Fund (APCF): APCF works in Los Angeles County to fund nonprofit organizations serving low-income and underserved API communities. To date, APCF has distributed over $1.6 million across more than 260 grants.

There may also be grants in your local community, so check with some of the resources listed below to see if there’s anything you can take advantage of right in your area.

[Read more: How 4 Buzzy Minority-Owned Startups Scored Funding Windfalls]

BCG reports that more than 26% of all billion-dollar-valued startups over the last two decades have had at least one AAPI co-founder.

AAPI mentorship and networking resources

Dozens of organizations offer business advice, networking opportunities, and training to AAPI business owners and entrepreneurs. Here are a few to explore:

Last, SCORE has identified other organizations that you could explore, including a growing number of local Asian chambers of commerce.

[Read more: 4 Things Every Minority Business Owner Can and Should Do Today]

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

Applications are open for the CO—100! Now is your chance to join an exclusive group of outstanding small businesses. Share your story with us — apply today.

CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

Brought to you by
Simplify your startup’s finances
Not sure where to begin in getting your business’s finances in order? Navigating the complex finances of a growing start-up can be daunting. Learn about the key financial operations that will keep your startup running smoothly — from payroll to bookkeeping to taxes — in this guide.
Learn More
Published