Supporting the key challenges of AAPI business owners in Las Vegas

Mon, May 20, 2024 (2 a.m.)

May is Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month and an opportunity to celebrate and honor the many contributions the AAPI entrepreneurial community has made in Las Vegas. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, AAPIs own 6.2% of all small businesses in the U.S., accounting for nearly 2 million businesses and employing over 3.5 million workers.

But despite their growth, this group continues to face challenges when it comes to confidence in meeting financing needs for their businesses.

Keilani Delgado

Keilani Delgado

Key challenges faced

According to the National ACE State of Asian American and Pacific Islander Business Spring 2023 survey, most AAPI entrepreneurs lack confidence they could finance unexpected operating expenses or go after growth opportunities, including funding marketing campaigns, increasing payroll or purchasing property or equipment.

Additionally, the study found that the capital needs of many AAPI entrepreneurs could be met by community development financial institutions (CDFIs) or minority depository institutions (MDIs) but that almost half of AAPI business owners lack awareness of these resources.

Solutions to support this growing segment

Many Las Vegas business owners may not know where to turn for trustworthy information to support them with starting a business or making critical business decisions. Having an initial conversation with your banker is a great first step. There are also many free resources and tools to help educate business owners around many topics like how to write a business plan, tips for building your network, how to scale your business competitively, and so much more. There’s also free mentorship opportunities for women available where business owners can get hands-on help setting and reaching business goals from peer-mentors and industry experts.

When it comes to capital needs, there are options where small-business owners can connect with a CDFI for potential funding. In 2022, Wells Fargo collaborated with Community Reinvestment Fund, USA to launch the Small Business Resource Navigator, an online portal that enables Wells Fargo bankers to help introduce small-business owners to potential financing options and technical assistance through CDFIs. By visiting and completing a short questionnaire, small businesses may be connected to CDFIs or business advisory resources in Southern Nevada.

While AAPI business owners are establishing new enterprises every day, data reveals there are still some key challenges they face to be successful. Fortunately, there are resources to help.

Keilani Delgado is a district branch network senior manager in Las Vegas.

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