Asian American Pacific Islander entrepreneurs recover significantly from the pandemic (SBA Op-Ed)

by Janita R. Stewart

U.S. Small Business Administration’s Southeast Acting Regional

Administrator, serving Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi,

North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee

Courtesy photo of Janita Stewart

According to The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI), Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are the fastest growing racial group in the United States. There are more than 1.9 million AAPI-owned enterprises in the United States; nearly 10% of all businesses in the United States, or about 1 out of 10 businesses. During AAPI Heritage Month, we are honored to recognize the tremendous accomplishments of

AAPI entrepreneurs, especially as all small businesses across the nation are striving to recover and excel through today’s global pandemic.

While we celebrate the many contributions of the Asian-American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander American populace to our Nation, we also recognize that AAPI communities and small businesses face challenges accessing capital and opportunities. Many of the AAPI-owned small businesses need assistance to access available resources such as business development counseling, small-business loans, and government procurement opportunities. This is where the SBA steps in.

Last year, the SBA backed $11.5 billion in traditional 7(a) and 504 Loans to AAPI entrepreneurs. These loans contributed to the $814 billion in revenue that is produced by AAPI-owned employer firms per year. To help maintain these levels of success, many AAPI entrepreneurs took advantage of the

recovery programs provided through the Economic Aid Act as well as found success through SBA’s fundamental small business programs.

To name a few across the Southeastern Region:

Talha Faruqi, President & Zaheer Faruqi, CEO, Aventure Aviation

Aventure Aviation is a global aftermarket aviation parts supplier headquartered in Peachtree City, Georgia. They have locations across the world and have been able to continue their success through utilizing the first and second draws of the Paycheck Protection Program, which became available under the Economic Aid Act.

Yongqin “Angie” Yu, Owner, Two Rivers Fisheries, Inc., Wickliffe, KY

Angie Yu approached the Small Business Development Center at Murray State University in Western Kentucky to assist her in growing her export business. Two Rivers Fisheries, Inc. is now the biggest exporter of Asian carp in the U.S. and exports their product to 11 countries and they also sells to U.S. restaurants. The SBDC not only helped Angie Yu to grow her business, but they also helped her apply for an SBA-backed guaranteed loan, and also assisted her in navigating the process of exporting. Angie Yu is also the recipient of the Paycheck Protection Program (1st and 2nd draw) as well as the Covid-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan to assist her business in recovering from the pandemic.

Sridhara Gutti, Owner, Essnova Solutions, Inc., Birmingham, AL

Srida Gutti has been able to overcome the challenges of today’s environment through utilizing the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program as well as designating his business as a HUBZone firm. Through government contracting, Essnova Solutions was named one of the nation’s fastest-growing companies by The Inc. 500 list.

In the SBA Southeast Region, we are happy to join SBA Administrator Guzman and the Biden Administration in honoring and celebrating Asian-American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Americans and their contributions to our nation’s economy through dedicated entrepreneurship. Learn more about SBA programs and services, including Economic Aid Recovery assistance, by following us on Twitter @SBASoutheast and by visiting

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