Portrait of a craftsman wearing an apron looking away from the camera.
Funding remains one of the biggest challenges for AAPI business owners. — Getty Images/JGalione

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. More than 2 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.

However, AAPI business owners face many of the entrenched obstacles that other minority entrepreneurs contend with in addition to specific discrimination, harassment, and violence originating from the COVID-19 pandemic. CNBC reports that the number of AAPI business owners has decreased by more than one-quarter since the start of the pandemic for a variety of reasons.

There are resources available to AAPI businesses that can help overcome common barriers to entry across industries. Here are a few resources AAPI entrepreneurs can take advantage of 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: Reimagine Main Street is the organization behind AAPIStrong, a program providing 100 cash grants totaling $2 million to AAPI-owned small businesses.
  • 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 a variety of 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 for being approved for a government-backed loan.

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]

More than 2 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.

AAPI mentorship and networking resources

There are dozens of organizations offering 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. In addition, consider signing up for the Asian American Pacific Islander Business Summit, a free virtual event hosted every year by the SBA.

[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.

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.

Join us for our Small Business Day event!

Join us at our next event on Wednesday, May 1, at 12:00 p.m., where we’ll be kicking off Small Business Month alongside business experts and entrepreneurs. Register to attend in person at our Washington, D.C., headquarters, or join us virtually!