Happy New Year! We began 2021 with an excellent start. USPAACC’s national team has completed our 20-hour retreat. We have a plan and a calendar of events for the new year, built on the foundation of a super active 2020 which, despite Covid-19, concluded with a very strong close in December.
How would 2020 prime us for remarkable successes in 2021?
First, the new stimulus Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is open for application this week. On Thursday, January 14 at 11:00 am ET, our LiveTALK will feature Sean Moore, Staff Director for Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), incoming Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship. He will give us information about PPP Round 2, which you have not heard from anywhere else yet.
Jade Jubilee Tribute Dinner
Our months-long 35th Anniversary celebration culminated with our Jade Jubilee Tribute Dinner, held on December 8. It was the highlight of CelebrASIAN Business + Procurement Conference, that began virtually in July.
Wells Fargo CEO Charles Scharf, Former PepsiCo Chairman & CEO and current Amazon Board Member Indra Nooyi, and Vice President of Amazon AI, Amazon Web Services, Swami Sivasubramanian, began the evening with their incredibly warm and encouraging remarks.
The milestone event paid tribute to our Top 35 Corporation Stars, Federal Small Business Program Stars, and Pan Asian American Business Stars. They provided valuable light and guidance to USPAACC as we climbed the 35 years up the mountain in pursuit of our mission – to offer business and procurement opportunities to our members, and to be the unified and amplified voice for equality and economic growth on behalf of the Pan Asian American and other minority & diverse business communities.
Winners of the Fast 100 Asian American Business Awards, What’s Your Pitch Innovation Competition, and the College Scholarship Awards, were also presented.
The Fast 100 Asian American Business Awards put the spotlight on the impressive achievements of Pan Asian American businesses from a broad list of industries. This year’s Fast 100 winners had a combined revenue of $3 billion and with companies recording up to 431% growth.
The “What’s Your Pitch” Innovation Competition, brought together a record 34 startups from across the country to compete in our 7th Annual “What’s Your Pitch: Innovations Meet the Market” Competition. Eleven finalists pitched their innovative ideas, solutions and products to a panel of expert judges. The exhilarating and fun event took four hours.
Our 31st annual College Scholarship Program continued to invest in future leaders by giving academic scholarships to select college-bound students, through the generosity of Asian American and corporation sponsors.
Amazon was Conference Title Chair. Wells Fargo was Conference Chair. Bank of America, Facebook, JPMorgan Chase, and T-Mobile were Platinum Sponsors.
Immediately following our marquee event, accolades began to flow in. I will share them with you soon. In the meantime, my heart is so full with your kind wishes and words of encouragement – thank you!
Nimble, Focused and Effective
When the scope of the pandemic became clear, we immediately rolled up our sleeves, and from home, we burned the midnight oil to find innovative – and virtual –ways to continue to engage with you, our members, sponsors and supporters.
We changed our planned 3-day in-person 35th Anniversary conference to an extended months-long series of events, e never stopped working, and have never been busier.
Leveraging technology, we are in constant contact with our members through remote education, training and business development programs. We reached out to new audiences via a host of digital channels and social media platforms; and gained new friends and members. Through hours of phone calls and emails, we showed our support and further strengthened our connections with our members and affinity partners.
Thankfully, we managed to keep our lights on and our virtual office open full time.
Our experiences and accomplishments these past 10 months further bolstered the foundation for our work in the future, especially helping small businesses to recover from the health and economic disruptions of the pandemic. And I would like to tell you some additional highlights.
Blogs and Social Media
Throughout the lockdown, we used our blogs to engage members, sponsors and partners, on topical and important issues that concerned them. We invited leading experts and opinion-makers from different industries to weigh in on timely topics. We intensified our social media feeds to offer a glow of hope through new business opportunities. We offered timely advisories to keep our members safe and informed of the PPP and other funding resources.
In March, powered with technology and skills, we launched our LiveTALK online video broadcasts to live-stream candid discussions on topics that truly matter to members, supporters, and the public. The CARES Act, PPP, EIDL, a myriad sources for funding and business opportunities led the series. Since then, we have broadcast 16 LiveTALKs on Facebook, YouTube, USPAACC.com, and GoToWebinar, and reached over 90,000 viewers since the launch nine months ago. We have given the community valuable information and guidance on repositioning business plans and repurposing assets, about business opportunities with Fortune corporations and the federal government, short-term cash flow strategies, and other noteworthy topics.
CPO Council Roundtable and Forum
In May, we held our Chief Procurement Officers (CPO) Council Roundtable with 9 CPOs and a CDC Senior Scientist. Our CPO program was launched 9 years ago and became an instant hit. In December, we held our signature 9th annual CPO Forum, “Supply Chain Impact and Contributions of MBEs During the Pandemic Crisis.” Success stories and best practices were shared, as well as how minority suppliers helped major corporations to meet demand, the CPOs’ outlook on post pandemic procurement processes, and new strategies for strengthening the future domestic and global supply chain.
Our 4th annual Chief Technology Officers/Chief Information Officers (CTO/CIO) Forum, “Innovation and Technology in the Post Pandemic World,” held in December, tackled the changing role of the CTO and CIO, shifts in business priorities, the accelerated amplification of innovation and technology, etc. The esteemed panel shared their insights on how deep technology impacts business and industries, and how small, minority and diverse businesses could follow the trend, the demand, the need, and the shortage, to succeed in the new economy.
1-on-1 B2B Matchmaking Meetings
We held seven rounds of 1-on-1 Business Matchmaking Meetings since May. This business development program, a nationally popular one, was brought to the market by USPAACC 21 years ago in 1999. Since then, a wellspring of success stories has arisen from these tailored meetings between suppliers and buyers.
Virtual Training and Seminars
In September, we held our 10th annual small business executive training and development program, Business Express: Ready? Let’s Grow!
We also held our 3rd annual Employee Business Resource Group (EBRG) Leadership Caucus Meeting for employees of our corporation members and sponsors. Uber and Novant Health subject matter experts addressed “Managing Mental Health & Well-Being While Working Virtually,” a welcomed breather from the long lockdown.
Bank of America gave USPAACC 50 licenses for our members to access hundreds of training courses for businesses with sales up to $1 million – the sector that governments from the federal to state to local levels, and corporations are also focused on helping because they have been hardest-hit by the pandemic.
In October, we held our 16th Annual Supplier Diversity & Procurement Leadership Caucus, widely recognized as the best program in the industry. Designed for supplier diversity and procurement professionals, it is known to be the best platform for sharing best practices to advance the use of under-represented businesses as suppliers to corporate buying entities.
As a founding member of the Chamber Leadership Alliance, USPAACC, together with National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, US Black Chambers, and US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, provided 13 training courses on nonprofit governance, leadership, programming, and fundraising to a national audience of 1,141 participants.
Also in November, at our 9th annual CPO Forum, we kicked off Unity Week, a celebration of diversity, equity, inclusion, and collaboration among diverse business communities. In 2011, USPAACC was among the handful of organizations that came together as the National Business Inclusion Consortium. Today, the top 10 national diverse business organizations in the United States – Disability:IN, National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, NMSDC, NaVOBA, USBC, USHCC, USPAACC, WeCONNECT, WBENC, and WIPP – comprise the Consortium.
All these programs show USPAACC’s dedication to helping businesses recover and grow, long before and during 2020. We take to heart our commitment to our members and our community and work earnestly every day on your behalf, even in times of abnormality.
Today, like many businesses across industries, we continue to be hard at work building an improved iteration of USPAACC that reflects the times – one that is sustainable, more effective and innovative, and one that continues to focus on serving you.
We know, we have been successful because of you - your belief in us, your encouragement, and invaluable support. 10,000 thanks!
For us to continue to do this, we need your financial support. If you like what we do, would you help us in our daily efforts to create, develop, and sustain programs that generate growth and opportunities for the Pan Asian American and other minority as well as diverse business communities?
The experience of 2020 may still linger on as we begin the new year. However, we will look ahead as a time full of possibilities where businesses rebuild, reinvent, or reposition on the road to recovery and prosperity.
I am full of expectation that we will see each other once again, in person. Until then, we will reconnect by email, text, phone, and video – grateful that we still have so many options to stay in touch.
Have a Healthy, Safe, and Prosperous New Year!
Susan Au Allen
National President & CEO