July 12, 2018
by Yanki Tshering
BCNA's Senior Loan Officer Vish Dasma represented BCNA in Atlanta this year at the 2018 Building National CAPACD Convention. The three-day conference included meetings, workshops, and networking opportunities that explored the unique challenges and opportunities of Asian Americans today.
BCNA is delighted to be a member of CAPACD (Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development), which has made advocating for the needs of Asian American and Pacific Islanders a priority.
The AAPI community is the fastest growing racial group in the United States, growth rate over four times higher than that of the nation as a whole. In fact, in the past two years our Queens office has seen a dramatic rise in the number of clients from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Tibet.
CAPACD is currently developing a national program that will support AAPI small business owners and advocate for them at the federal level. Earlier this year, to that end, BCNA was one of nine CAPACD members who surveyed AAPI small businesses about what they need to grow. CAPACD's Director of Programs Joyce Pisnanont, Research, Program Evaluation Coordinator Brian Kim, and consultant Patricia Julio designed the survey and provided key support to BCNA's Vish Dasma and Tshering Gurung as they surveyed BCNA's Asian American clients.
The survey's preliminary results reveal that access to capital is a major need and particularly loans over $25K, with 51% of those surveyed relying on loans from friends and family. The business owners also identified a need for training in marketing and strengthening their online presences to help them attract clients beyond their ethnic communities, which BCNA is currently addressing with one-on-one training and help for more than a dozen AAPI businesses in Queens.
When asked how the government or community organizations could help their businesses, 67% cited help with more affordable commercial rents and 44% cited grants to support building and property improvements. The challenge of rising rents is something that we are very aware of and we actively work with our clients and partners to try to find solutions. To that end, we very much appreciate the support that we have received from Chhaya CDC as well as the office of City Council Member Daniel Dromm, and their commitment to helping businesses owned by members of the AAPI community - and all communities – flourish and grow.