Business-Minded Legal Solutions

AAPI women face challenges even as they close the entrepreneur gap

There is much concern about the economy here in 2023 as businesses try to find their footing in the post-pandemic world with rising interest rates, empty workspaces and a general sense of uncertainty. Still, CNBC recently published some positive news: Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) women are among the fastest-growing entrepreneur demographics.

Pandemic impacted them at a higher rate

Unfortunately, the pandemic tempered this success. As of 2020 (the most recent year of final data available), Asian-American women-owned 171,400 businesses, and Pacific Islanders owned 2,600, but those numbers are estimated by the Asian/Pacific Islander Chamber of Commerce to be down by a quarter due to the pandemic.

Women dropped out of the workforce at a much higher rate during the pandemic to care for multi-generational families, while men continued to work outside the home. The decline was also attributed to women owning a higher-than-average number of client-facing businesses like restaurants, retail stores, education services, and personal care services, which were hit hardest by the pandemic. Other complicating factors included a need for banking relationships and language barriers.

Over-mentored and underfunded

According to the article, the way forward for women-owned businesses is through better funding access. AAPI women entrepreneurs are often hamstrung by their limited access to grants, loans and capital. Despite their financial handicap, this segment continues to grow. Now new business accelerators and incubators like FoundHer focus on helping AAPI women.

Others here in Texas are also stepping in, helping business owners broker deals that move women-owned businesses to the next stage of their economic development, whether mergers and acquisitions, capital investment, or major transactions. As is the case with any company, business law attorneys can help with strategy, contracts, structuring deals, and other matters crucial to a business’ continued success.