Ying McGuire and I exchanged messages. Ying is a long-time supporter of the US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation (USPAACC). I wanted to bounce off new ideas with her for a USPAACC presentation at our Business Development Week in November. She was on vacation so we agreed to talk after she returned. A week later, the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) announced her appointment as their new CEO & President.
Ying and I have known each other for nearly 20 years and collaborated on impactful programs. During one of our trade missions to China. I invited her to a private reception with the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai and meetings with the American Chamber of Commerce. In Texas, I asked her to host an interview with our amazing technology and engineer entrepreneurs at our national conference in Houston. And this March, she moderated our signature LiveTALK: Mompreneurs video broadcast with three Asian American woman entrepreneurs. All were big hits.
She reciprocated with introductions to the new leadership of Greater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce, and we provided four annual grants to help them strengthen their business development programs. She has been a frequent participant at our national conferences.
Ying and I had our first talk on August 12, a couple of weeks since she assumed her new job. I pledged to support her in her new role. She asked about USPAACC’s relationship with NMSDC. I said that I hope we could further cultivate a relationship with the new leadership and with heightened collaboration. Pan Asian American and other minority businesses are a growing market, and minority business certification could help them grow larger and faster. The first and easiest collaboration would be reciprocity minority business certification between NMSDC and USPAACC. It will bring immediate benefits that cost little or nothing to the minority business community that both organizations have served for over 35 years.
USPAACC started its certification program in 1998 at the encouragement of Fortune corporations who wanted to meet Asian American-owned businesses. NMSDC, at that time, was focused on developing Black-owned businesses. Very few Asian American entrepreneurs knew about the minority business development program. So, we traveled around the country to educate, develop and connect them with opportunities in Fortune corporations, and in the Federal government for federal contracts. This is how USPAACC’s Asian American and Minority Business certification program began.
At the same time, Census 2000 was on the horizon. There was a shortage of data analysts and computer programmers in the country to work on the census. USPAACC was connected to Asian Americans in these professions. A Black-owned firm won a census subcontract to reach out to the minority community and it asked USPAACC to help with the Asian segment. Through this project, we further expanded our reach to Asian American businesses nationwide.
Since 1998, we have educated a new generation of Asian American entrepreneurs about minority business development, increased the number and size of suppliers in the market, fostered competition, enriched the knowledge and sharpened the skills they needed to win and deliver on their contracts.
Today, our centralized certification program’s requirements and processes have the approval of CPOs of Fortune 100 corporations, and our certification is recognized nationwide. Once a business is certified by us, it does not need to apply and pay for additional certification at the regional level.
Supplier Diversity includes a larger community of businesses owned, controlled, and operated by minorities, women, veterans, LGBT, and disabled people. Each group has its own unique certification. In our experience, none of them are as complex as the Pan Asian American community of approximately 50 subethnic groups, 100 languages and dialects, and diverse cultures. USPAACC’s certification has served an important public interest and will continue to do so, especially in view of the horrific anti-Asian racial injustice and violence triggered by COVID-19.
We look forward to working with NMSDC to increase opportunities for all minority businesses – certified by NMSDC, SBA, and USPAACC – to build a stronger, more vibrant, and more equitable community for all.
Susan Au Allen
National President & CEO