MILWAUKEE — May is Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month and in observance, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) hosted a special round table to hear some of the challenges and concerns of several Asian-American small business owners.
Geri Sanchez Aglipay is the SBA Regional Administrator and the first Filipino American woman to be appointed in a regional role for a federal agency by a U.S. President.
"It is to listen to what the small business owners and NHPI what their journeys are and what their successes are for the state of Wisconsin and for us at the SBA to better support them for the recovery of COVID and make sure they know we are a resource partner for them to not only recover, but to grow and start and scale up and create those jobs," Sanchez Aglipay said.
Just over 80% of AAPI small business owners in the country have reported negative effects from the pandemic. Ab Kue, CEO of RPM Body Work, says the SBA definitely helped her during a very critical time of the pandemic.
"The SBA has been a blessing in disguise during the pandemic," she said. "If it weren't for the EDIL and the grants during that time, we would not have had the cash flow to be able to hang in there until we were able to reopen again.
The SBA also helps start and expand small businesses. Kate and Don Hill are the owners of DaKonte Products, Inc., located at 66th and Mill Road. They purchased their small manufacturing business back in 2016 and moved it from Sussex to Milwaukee to promote job opportunities in Milwaukee.
"The reason we purchased this business five years ago is to bring the opportunity to the northwest side of Milwaukee and to offer this opportunity to residents in this area, because once they develop the skills, it's a skill that demands a pretty good pay."
Kate Hill took part in SBA's Emerging Leaders Executive program in 2018 and the company has boosted its sales in recent years and has been awarded both federal and corporate contracts.
To learn more about the SBA, click here.