At Flushing Forum, Local Leaders Emphasize Need For More AAPI Small Business Resources

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng and other community leaders came to the offices of Renaissance Economic Development Corporation (REDC) in Flushing, Queens April 26 for an important roundtable discussion on AAPI small businesses. The National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD) recently released a report, Small Business, Big Dreams. REDC was one of nine community development organizations nationwide featured in the study.  Participants talked about strategies for addressing the needs and issues highlighted in the report.

“Small Business, Big Dreams” found that AAPI entrepreneurs face significant barriers in starting and sustaining small businesses. They often have difficulty accessing funding, for example. The report emphasized the importance of nonprofit organizations which help provide crucial pathways out of poverty for aspiring business owners.

AAFE’s Co Executive Director Thomas Yu and REDC Managing Director Jessie Lee took part in the discussion. Lee cited a lack of access to capital and limited English proficiency as two impediments to AAPI entrepreneurship. She called for more investment in the Small Business Administration and Treasury Department’s CDFI Fund program.

Congresswoman Meng said, “Small business is a priority for me because I represent a vibrant district built by small businesses. Reports like these are so important for policy makers because we are not the experts, and we look to you for critical data. Today is not just about the unveiling of this report, but a mandate to take recommendations back to Congress for legislative action.”

Read more about the forum on National CAPACD’s website.