It’s time to take stock of how far we have come as we welcome 2022 with renewed purpose, vigor and optimism.
At USPAACC, we took the disruptions head-on, continued working, harder than ever, and proudly brought to our members and supporters another year filled with business development programs and opportunities – with wondrous impacts.
In all, 2021 was a very good year and I will show you some examples here. To our partners in corporate America, government agencies and national nonprofits who steadfastly and generously stand by us throughout – a million thanks!
To the Pan Asian American/AAPI businesses, you inspire us to do better every year. We salute your perseverance and ingenuity. You rose to the challenges when it counts the most.
On behalf of USPAACC, I trust that your holiday season is filled with hope and courage. Many good wishes for a fresh, bright, and prosperous New Year!
Susan Au Allen
National President & CEO
US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce
Education Foundation (USPAACC)
SBA Grant Award
We are honored and humbled that the U.S. Small Business Administration selected USPAACC – the Asian American organization – as one of 8 national recipients of a Tier 1 level competitive Community Navigator Pilot Program. The $5 million 2-year grant comes with major responsibilities – to help reduce barriers to entry, retool, upskill, and grow small businesses. This initiative aligns with our historic mission to help Pan Asian American/AAPI and other diverse businesses succeed in the mainstream. We are well-prepared for this mandate.
I am also honored and humbled to be no discrimination in the implementation of this law.
This follows my nearly 4-year service on the FCC’s Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment which also focused on bringing employment, broadband access, and business opportunities to the underserved and unserved communities.
Wells Fargo “Open for Business” Fund
USPAACC was awarded Wells Fargo’s “Open for Business” Fund that provides support for Community Development Financial Institutions and other nonprofit organizations like us that serve diverse small businesses. With this fund, we provide targeted small businesses with specially-designed technical assistance training and advisory services on financial literacy, management capacity, digital empowerment, marketing and promotion strategies, and how to recruit, train and retain employees.
We launched a new platform for USPAACC’s 22-Year Certification Program that connects quality and bona fide Pan Asian American and minority businesses for special access to doing business with America’s Fortune 1000, medium and small companies as prime or subcontractors. Our certification experiences also open doors to folks who want assistance in applying for 8(a) or other government minority status certifications.
As a USPAACC-certified member, you are eligible for application into the Meta (formerly Facebook) Invoice Fast Track program. It accords you with early payment for the products and/or services you have invoiced your customers or clients for which you have to wait for months or longer to get paid.
Chief Procurement Officers Roundtable and Forums, Corporate Forum
In our 4-year partnership with Howard University, our popular Chief Procurement Officers Roundtable and Forums were as robust as could be. The Corporate Forum on supply chain evolution and sustainability with Boeing, Ryder Systems, and Marriott International was led by two brilliant students from the Howard University Center for Excellence in Supply Chain Management. We need more talents like them in the marketplace
CelebrASIAN Business Development Conference Part 1: TOGETHER TOMORROW
In June, the first part of our CelebrASIAN Business Development Conference offered 25 programs - a wide array of supplier diversity information, resources, best practices, and billion-dollar procurement opportunities – including Chief Procurement Officers Forum, Doing Business with Healthcare, Telecommunications, Banking & Insurance industries, Facebook (now Meta), Nike, and the Federal Government; Solutions to Help Boost Business in 2021; and Discussion with Managed Services Providers. 66 speakers talked to over 1,000 participants to help their businesses thrive in the post-pandemic revival.
CelebrASIAN Business Development Conference Part 2: SYNERGY FORWARD
The 2nd part of CelebrASIAN Business Development Conference: Synergy Forward in November convened panels and workshops on business growth strategies. The 9 leaders of the country’s top national minority and diverse business nonprofit organizations gathered to discuss supplier diversity, inclusion, certification and collaboration
Our very forward-thinking CTO/CIO Forum was as engaging and substantive as anyone who have attended this session in the past 4 years could expect. Small businesses who want to gain entry into the corporate technology and procurement niche had a ball!
Employee Business Resource Group Leadership Caucus
Held the annual Employee Business Resource Group Leadership Caucus to discuss the role of evolving EBRGs in building corporate culture.
With our corporate, government and large nonprofit partners AARP, AT&T, Caesars Entertainment, Facebook (now Meta), FirstEnergy, Home Depot, Kellogg’s, and Travel & Leisure; Federal Reserve Board of Atlanta, U.S. Departments of Education and Transportation, we presented more business development resources and opportunities, including those arising from pursuing Environmental Social Governance (ESG) practices.
At the conclusion of the CelebrASIAN Business Development Conference on November 10, 2021, we announced our new program, Supplier Diversity Champions, a growth-based initiative that recognizes corporations that walk the talk and demonstrate with transparency, progress in their supplier diversity spending efforts.
With Google, we presented 11 digital training courses to help diverse businesses adapt, grow, and better serve their clients and customers. Topics like better business decisions through analytics, customer-focused marketing, online customer outreach through Search Engine Optimization (SEO), using YouTube to grow business, design thinking for entrepreneurs, and going global through Google’s Market Finder tool, have been uplifting to businesses hardest-hit by the pandemic.
“What’s Your Pitch?” Innovation Competition
In search of the “next big thing,” we held the final round of our exciting “What’s Your Pitch?” Innovation Competition in October. The 3 national winners received $50,000, courtesy of AT&T, Nationwide, Southern California Edison, Trane Technologies, and Wells Fargo.
Shark Tank Competition
Collaborated with Shark Tank featuring Neurogum Co-Founder Kent Yoshimura.
Our Business Express: Ready? Let’s Grow! Executive Coaching program, sponsored by Wells Fargo, Altria, CVS Health, Google, PGA, and Southern Company, reached a new level with Business Expert Cohort! In October, 30 small- and minority-owned businesses began the first of 8 virtual learning meetings on strategic growth and planning, talent acquisition and retention, and other vital topics to help them expand their enterprises in 2022 and beyond.
1-on-1 Business Matchmaking Meetings
In September and October, more of our signature 1-on-1 Business Matchmaking Meetings with our corporate partners at FirstEnergy, T-Mobile, and International Paper. 20 years after launching this program, we do it so well that both sides of the table, the buyers and sellers, were happy!
Our Regional Chapters across the country remained active throughout the year with virtual outreach, training and business development activities such as Application for PPP, Tax Planning, R&D Tax Credit, Federal R&D Grants, Regional Business Summit, Preliminary Regional Rounds of “What’s Your Pitch?” Innovations Competition, and many others such as Diversity in Action (DiA) Award, and Chinese New Year Celebrations.
Through the Chamber Leadership Alliance (CLA), we strengthened our over 10-year partnership with the country’s leading minority and diverse organizations – National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce – to support our diverse communities with candid and substantive discussions on allyship, acceptance, activism, and mutually beneficial programs. Our four chambers of commerce started our allyship over 10 years ago when no one was watching. It was the right thing to do and that is the best motivation. We owe a debt of gratitude to Wells Fargo for providing the resources to make the CLA the success it has been, and the first ever!
Supporting Other Organizations
At Wireless Infrastructure Association’s Connect X Conference in Orlando, FL, we hosted two panels; one with NGLCC, USBC and USHCC, another with WBENC and Women’s Wireless Leadership Forum (WWLF).
At NGLCC Conference in Hollywood, FL, with 7 of 8 national nonprofit certification agencies.
At USHCC Conference in Las Vegas
College Scholarship Awards
We continued to invest in our community and future leaders through our College Scholarship Awards program. This year, despite the continuing economic and other challenges, we presented 14 scholarships to outstanding recipients with financial needs, thanks to our scholarship sponsors at Ampcus, CVS Health, Cynet Systems, Dayblink Consulting, Denny’s Hungry for Education, MSL Express, Trane Technologies, UPS, and Whang Family Charitable Remainder Unitrust (CRUT). And of course, kudos to our College Scholarship Committee: Fred Lona, Anjali Ann Ramakumaran, Jackie LaJoie, and Katie Macias.
Advocacy To Stop Anti-Asian Violence
We addressed the escalation of hate and violence against the Pan Asian American/AAPI community with 7 distinct actions:
1) Issued a 5-point manifesto for Pan Asian American/AAPI people and all Americans to help defeat hate, restore inclusion and respect. Its impact is far-reaching. But vigilance, education, collaboration will be key if we want progress.
2) Spoke to Home Depot's employees in the United States and worldwide about the rampant anti-Asian violence occurring across 50 states and Washington, DC – 3,795 reported incidents of racial animus against Asian Americans in the first 12 months since COVID-19 shut down the country.
3) Spoke at the inaugural Diversity Resources Group meeting at Travel + Leisure Co. about being an advocate at this critical time of American history when racism against Asian Americans is open and notorious all over the country.
4) Spoke at the US Chamber of Commerce's Equality of Opportunity in Action: The AAPI Business Community Speaks Up. The event focused on the impacts of COVID-19 on Pan Asian American/AAPI businesses, their recovery, and how entrepreneurs could lead the way in promoting equity.
5) Contributed an article to the US Chamber of Commerce’s publication Above the Fold, “How an Executive Order Could Help Asian American Businesses Recover,” pointing out the trillions of dollars the federal government spends to buy goods and services every year. They are business opportunities that Pan Asian American/AAPI businesses could access easier under the Order, but they must be certified first as a Pan Asian American/AAPI/minority business to participate. USPAACC is 1 of 2 national organizations that has an over 22-year history of such certification.
6) Contributed an article in Minority Business Enterprise USA Magazine calling for calm, going beyond talking, especially talking into an echo chamber, but take action; and asked all Americans to do more to repel racism on every level and protect the primacy of reason, diversity and inclusion, tolerance, dignity, and mutual respect. None of us should be complicit in our silence when we see hate in any form.
7) Published an article in Wells Fargo’s Viewpoints, advocating that as Asian American small businesses continue to reel from the battles they face on two fronts – the corona pandemic and the pandemic of racism – we must learn from the past and push for better data and accurate reporting on the Pan Asian American community, among other things. Simply stated, we all must draw from lessons of the past two years and see them as opportunities to make lasting changes to improve America’s racial relations among all group.
Other Advocacy Actions
On President Biden’s inauguration, we sent to the Biden-Harris Administration USPAACC’s 8 recommendations for their legislative agenda. At the top of the agenda, we advocated for an immediate review of Contract Bundling and Category Management practices in federal contracting. They deprive minority businesses – 20% of all small businesses – of the opportunities to sell to the federal government.
Over 900 small businesses in San Francisco’s Chinatown have borne the blow of the pandemic and racism. In addition, they have been served over 500 lawsuits filed by one small law firm in San Diego pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the threat of enormous legal fees defending the lawsuit or settling with the plaintiffs or paying fines, they sought legal help to no avail because the law was unyielding. USPAACC wrote a letter on behalf of BeChinatown, a nonprofit organization that helped the Chinatown small businesses to apply for PPP loans and forgiveness. The letter was addressed to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who also represents San Francisco.
One of USPAACC’s small business members in New York applied for and received approval of an EIDL. He received the first partial payment, but not the rest. His year-long efforts to learn the status of the balance of the approved loan went unanswered. USPAACC reached out to several avenues to resolve the delay in disbursing the loan. One week later, an SBA loan officer contacted the USPAACC member who received the funds within the week.
USPAACC has been raising these issues for years. Now, the Biden Administration hears us
Our USPAACC National Team!
New goals to achieve and new success stories to write...Happy New Year!!!
See you real soon!