Happy Asian Pacific Islander Month!

To celebrate API Month, we thought we’d give a shout out API businesses. Earlier this month, Mayor Garcetti met with a handful of API leaders in Los Angeles to discuss small business issues. The group was kind enough to share their concerns and recommendations for the mayor.

API Issues Summary for Mayor Garcetti: Small businesses

Los Angeles City has 61,607 API-owned small businesses, the second highest number for a city in the nation, with a majority that are family operated, and owned by immigrants, many limited English-speaking.  English-speaking, college-educated business owners complain about the amount of and complexity of paperwork and compliance—consider how difficult it is for the limited-English speaking to navigate.  When they receive bills for business license renewal and notices of delinquency for the same, many API business owners do not know what to do.

Increases in the minimum wage are important in establishing livable wages, but with the increases of 66% over seven years ($9.00/hr to $15.00/hr), it it is expected some small businesses will be challenged. Lawmakers recognize that some businesses owners will need advice and help in adjusting their operations to be able to pay the higher wages. We want these assistances to be in Asian Pacific languages.

For many limited English speaking immigrants, opening small businesses may be more realistic paths for incomes that regular employment. API microlenders assist these persons.  Approved microlenders can access SBA funds, but must raise non-federal matching funds for their loan loss reserves, which is an issue for API lenders.


Provide and support assistance to limited English-speaking small business owners through partnering with public and nonprofit agencies who can assist them with business license and other issues.  Inform API small business employers on how they apply to various employment incentive programs.  Most of the marketing materials and information on small business supports is in English or Spanish, leaving out many of the API languages.

Provide support in non-federal matching funds to API microlenders, to increase their capacity to help new and existing small businesses.

Increase information and assistance for API small businesses to contract with the City.

Resources;  Namoch Sokhom, Business Development Center Director at the Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment, nsokhom@pacela.org;  Ron Fong, Director of the Asian Pacific Islander Small Business Program, rfong@apisbp.org; Dennis Huang, Executive Director of the Asian Business Association, dhuang@aba-la.org and Mark Masaoka, A3PCON Policy Director, mmasaoka@A3PCON.org.