Empowering Inclusive Growth: Celebrating Asian American Entrepreneurship in Minnesota

From the Desk of SBA Regional Administrator Geri Sanchez Aglipay

By Geri Sanchez Aglipay, Great Lakes Regional Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 

May is Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AANHPI Heritage Month) honoring AANHPI contributions to our nation’s economy and cultural fabric. Asian Americans are the fastest growing Illinois racial demographic. In search of better opportunities — from railroad workers, farm laborers as my father, to owning Main Street small businesses—history shows AANHPI’s resilience, work, and entrepreneurial spirit helped build this nation.

History is in the making, as the Biden-Harris Administration economic agenda is spurring a “Small Business Boom” of roughly 18 million new business applications to date. It’s the highest than any presidential administration, with more than 218,000 right here in Minnesota.  Small business owners have confidence in the economy! Asian Americans are powering this start-up boom through family-owned restaurants, home health care services, retail shops, high-tech startups, engineering and construction firms, manufacturing, the skilled trades and more.

But lack of access to capital persists for many entrepreneurs with a decline between 2017 and 2020 However, under President Biden funding for AANHPI-owned businesses is on the rise with a whopping 44% increase in number of loans and 36% increase in loan dollar volume for AANHPI, plus right here in the great Minnesota North Star state, SBA loans for Asian Americans are up nearly 20%! SBA Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman has led reforms at the SBA that reduce capital access barriers for underserved and disadvantaged communities. Members of the AANHPI community are betting on themselves and their ideas because they’re empowered.

The SBA is committed to ensuring AANHPI entrepreneurs can sustainably start, run, and grow businesses that innovate and solve global problems. I witness this every day when I meet small businesses who are flourishing because they access the SBA’s affordable financing, free counseling, online resources, tools (including language support) by the SBA staff and its trusted partners in nonprofits, state and city governments, academia, incubators, accelerators and more.

President Biden’s Investing in America economic agenda is grounded in equity, which strengthens the foundations of an inclusive economy from the middle out and bottom up through diverse working- and middle-class entrepreneurs. Small businesses are economic engines who catalyze prosperity for all, and that includes the 3 million AANHPI small businesses in America that sustain jobs for 5.2 million people and generate roughly $958 billion in annual sales.  In May, the SBA is proud to support the living legacy of Asian American small businesses who create good jobs, financial security, and generational wealth.

About the U.S. SBA Great Lakes Regional Administrator Geri Sanchez Aglipay

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Regional Administrator Geri Sanchez Aglipay was appointed by President Biden to oversee the delivery of the SBA’s agency’s programs, field offices, and financial and outreach operations across Region V in the Great Lakes Midwest states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Aglipay is the principal representative of SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, and is the first Filipino American Regional Administrator appointed to the SBA under any Presidential Administration.



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