The World of Asian American Business: The Meeting of the East and the West

Asian American Small Businesses

Asian-American entrepreneurs are an essential part of the small business sector and to a larger extent, the US economy. Like many small businesses, Asian American owned businesses contribute to the community and national economy by providing services and products as well as employment to many people. Even the White House acknowledges the benefits of Asian Americans to the US economy and society. They do so by providing support to these businesses and taking them into consideration when it comes to planning the budget. In the said budget, the government plans to support these businesses by encouraging growth via lending money, giving an easier way to get credit and cutting some taxes for small business that plan to expand their operations.

Funding Your Small Business

There are many facts around Asian American small businesses. For example, for Asian Americans it is the norm to own any kind of business, whether personally or a family-owned business. In other words, Asian Americans have the most number in terms of being self-employed besides White non-Latinos. The table shows that Asian American entrepreneurs, whether there are born in the US or came as an immigrant, shows a great tendency towards self-employment.

The types of businesses that Asian Americans often build are not just dry cleaners or grocery stores. Many business owned by these entrepreneurs are in the field of engineering, advertising, marketing & public relations, facilities management, accounting, manufacturing, research, healthcare, real estate, security and commodity brokers and transportation.

The biggest portion of Asian American entrepreneurs is the Chinese, followed by other ethnicities like Indians and Koreans. The Vietnamese, Japanese and Filipinos follow.

It is also noted that the pace of growth of Asian American small businesses is better compared to small business owned by non-minority. According to the Minority Business Development Agency, Asian-owned firms are growing steadily during 2002 to 2007.

The success of Asian American firms can be attributed to many factors. The first is to the Asian American entrepreneurs who did receive the call of doing a small business and faced its risks. The people who work at these businesses should also be credited as they are the main drivers of the business. There is also some credit due to the institutions that help small businesses in situations like needing more money, knowledge or instruction and opportunity to enter a market. Some of these institutions help not only Asian American firms but small businesses in general. There are other organizations that help and cater to the success of Asian American entrepreneurs.

Helpful Agencies

In general there are two federal agencies concerned with small businesses. The Small Business Administration or SBA is the foremost federal agency and it helps all forms of small businesses – whether they are owned by white Americans or Americans belonging to the minority community. The SBA provides financial help, business consulting and chance to enter procurement with the federal government. Government procurement is used as a tool to even the playing field for small businesses with regard to other sizes of business companies. It also helps to provide continuous profit and operation of a small business.

The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) also shares that goal and capacity of the SBA. Unlike the SBA, the MBDA caters to the minority-owned small businesses only, including Asian American small business. These businesses include minorities due to ethnicity, gender or businesses that are socially or financially disadvantaged.

AABDC: The Gateway between US and Asia

The Asian American Business Development Center (AABDC) in comparison to the SBA and MBDA is different. Unlike the aforementioned federal agencies, the AABDC is a private organization and has a specific audience. Its primary mission is to help Asian American entrepreneurs in terms of starting and running their businesses and creating business opportunities for them. Another difference is that the AABDC seeks to promote the contributions of Asian Americans entrepreneurs to the economy. There is also a lot of emphasis on awareness and cooperation in terms of business between China and the United States.

This center was founded in New York in 1994 and it has made its mark in the Asian American businesses community in New York and United States as a whole. THE AABDC in essence is not just a business help center but it also acts as a liaison in conducting business between New York and China.

Since the AABDC tries to promote awareness not just between two countries for business, it also tries to make their members aware and participate on important things that concern them like relevant policies in city, state and federal levels. In terms of policies, the AABDC advocates some policy changes in the small business community.

Awards and Celebrations

The organization gives its own awards and recognition. The center gives the Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business Award to those Asian American entrepreneurs as an acknowledgement of their skills, success and contributions to the Asian American businesses community and the whole US economy. The award is given to many Asian American executives and entrepreneurs who work in different industries. Another highly-anticipated event from the Center is its Lunar Year Celebration. The center holds a feast that invites all New Yorkers to celebrate this occasion. The gala often invites government officials to speak and recognize the importance of the center and Asian American entrepreneurs.

Asian American entrepreneurs are among those who are considered minority owned business owners. The AABDC formed the New York Majority Alliance in cooperation with other minority business associations like African American and Hispanic business organizations. The Alliance‘s goal consists of getting fair representation, grow and support their members’ businesses and gain more business opportunities for those entrepreneurs that these organization represents.

Connecting Two Worlds

The AABDC represents two worlds of business – China and New York. As such, the center aims to make two relations closer by improving relations as well as establishing presence in both countries.

In 2001, the AABDC started to lead a delegation of New York State businesses and legislators to China as a trade mission. This trade mission is known as ‘Invest in New York’, with the aim of convincing Chinese businesses men to direct their investments in the City. The trade mission is held annually since its inception. Since it was founded, the trade mission was a success with the help of New York City, legislators and the state business agencies.

Likewise, the AABDC was also used by Chinese government officials to connect with their counterparts in New York City and the United States. Three Chinese delegations happened with the help of AABDC in 2005, 2007 and 2009.

Another initiative of the center is the New York in China Center (NYICC). This center was created in 2008 and is a dedicated presence of the AABDC in China. Entrepreneurs from the New York state can use this center as a gateway into the Chinese market. The center also serves the purpose of enticing Chinese business entrepreneurs to consider New York as one of their international locations or station in the United States. Currently, the NYOICC has offices in New York, Beijing, Dalian and Hang Zhou.

Are you an Asian American entrepreneur looking into strengthening your business? Or are you interested in connecting with these entrepreneurs? Share your experiences with such businesspeople by commenting below.

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