WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--To raise awareness of the needs, interests and aspirations of entrepreneurs, business owners and corporate leaders of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AAPI) heritage, more than 50 national and regional business leaders will convene for the first time in Washington, D.C. to meet with representatives of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI), U.S. Dept. of Commerce, U.S. Small Business (SBA) Administration and the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) on Monday, May 5. The delegation will be part of a national roundtable discussion that will include leaders from all of the major AAPI communities, representing more than a dozen states and the District of Columbia, and is being held during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
The delegation will address three core issues that are important to AAPIs in the U.S., including opportunities for small businesses, international trade and the process for collecting and analyzing statistical data pertaining to AAPIs.
“AAPIs are the fastest growing consumer segment in the U.S. and represent just over six percent of the total population,” said Sach Takayasu, president and chief executive officer of the Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ACE), a national Washington-based organization focusing on advancing the business interests of AAPIs throughout the country. “For many years, AAPIs have not had a strong and credible business voice in the halls of government, and we are here to fill that void.”
WHIAAPI, U.S. Department of Commerce, SBA and MBDA officials have welcomed greater dialogue with AAPI business leaders, holding several meetings with entrepreneurs, business owners and corporate leaders throughout the country. These meetings have included mutually beneficial conversations pertaining to the Affordable Care Act, immigration reform, regulatory issues, access to capital, federal contracting, international trade and economic development programs.
“For years, AAPIs have missed opportunities to share their voice with leaders of the federal government,” stated Claudia Kaercher, founder of Island Liaison, a Phoenix-based organization serving the Pacific Islander communities. “Holding meetings with federal officials provides us with a critical opportunity to address the business needs of those who rarely receive any government assistance, particularly Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders and many smaller Asian-American communities.”
The delegation is being co-convened by leaders of the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD) and the Coalition of Asian American Business Organizations (CAABO); both organizations are responsible for addressing the economic development needs of the growing AAPI communities around the country. Other important delegates include leaders from several regional chambers of commerce, business associations and business advocacy organizations, including ACE/New York, Ascend, Asian American Business Association, Asian American Chamber of Commerce/Greater Washington, Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Pittsburgh, Asian American Commerce Group of Ohio, Asian Business Association of the Inland Empire, Asian Business Association of Los Angeles, Asian Chamber of Commerce of Colorado, Asian Chamber of Commerce of Houston, Asian Economic Development Association, Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce of Michigan, Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE), Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO), China Millennium Council, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, Coalition of Asian American Business Organizations, Filipino American Chambers of Commerce, Hmong National Development (HMD), International Leadership Foundation, Island Liaison, National U.S. India Chamber of Commerce, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, South Asian Business Alliance Network (SABAN), Virginia Asian Chamber of Commerce.
“This gathering of diverse business organizations is unprecedented in many ways,” said Linda Toyota, president of the Asian Chamber of Commerce of Houston. “It is essential that we work closely together to ensure we have a positive and lasting impact in Washington and in each of our regions. We must take responsibility for our communities by expressing our points of view clearly and decisively with government leaders, elected officials and with corporate executives.”
ACE - Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship
ACE was established in 2012 to address the needs, interests, and aspirations of business owners, entrepreneurs and corporate leaders of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander American heritage (henceforth “AAPI”). ACE was established to serve as a visible and credible voice on a national level on behalf of our country’s AAPI business sector. www.nationalace.org.