National Small Business Week 2015

Beijing Books - Los Angeles, CA
Found Coffee
- Los Angeles, CA
Rising Up - New York, NY

Hing Hay CoWorks - Seattle, WA

Tamashii Ramen House - Los Angeles, CA

Beijing Books –The Heart of a Teacher and Vision of an Entrepreneur

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As we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and as a Supporting Cosponsor of SBA’s National Small Business Week, National CAPACD is sharing stories from our members and from AAPI small businesses across the country. Viem Hong from the Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment in Los Angeles shares his client’s story:

Ms. Helen (Dong) Yue emigrated from China to the U.S. in 2010. With a few decades of experience as a career English teacher in her native country, she has a keen sense of understanding and appreciation for both the Chinese and American language and culture.

Shortly after arriving in Los Angeles, Ms. Yue continued to pursue her passion by teaching at various local language schools. While teaching, she was constantly looking for opportunities to introduce her Chinese culture to American students. Then in early 2013, she noticed a book store was up for sale in her community and immediately took an interest in it.

With the assistance of PACE, she received a $2,000 match to her own savings from the Office of Refugee Resettlement Individual Development Account program to make the initial lease payment for the book store. Since then, she has made many changes in terms of products and services offerings.

Beijing Books now offers not only books and cultural artifacts from both China and America, but also provides calligraphy lessons and computer classes to its patrons. In only less than a year of operation, Ms. Yue has turned the same book store that was operating in red from the previous owner into a profitable business because of her innovation and intuition.

Beijing Books now has three full-time employees and Ms. Yue has informed PACE that she is looking to expand her products and service further and may come to PACE for assistance with micro-loan programs for her business expansion.

Learn more about Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment at www.pacela.org.

Found Coffee – A Sip of Community Spirit

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As we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and as a Supporting Cosponsor of SBA’s National Small Business Week, National CAPACD is sharing stories from our members and from AAPI small businesses across the country. With the assistance of Los-Angeles-based Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA), Annie Choi is now the proud owner of Found Coffee. SIPA is an affiliate of the Asian Pacific Islander Small Business Program.  This is Annie’s story:

While I was working in the entertainment industry, I wanted to open a coffee shop in LA. A coffee shop is a place filled with stories: the baristas' and customers' personal life stories, the spirit of the neighborhood the coffee shop is located in, and even down to the coffee's journey into the customer's hands itself. And in such a lonely place that LA can sometimes be, stories amongst community is essential.

But capital to start your own business is always a struggle. What the banks don't tell you at first is that you need to keep your day job in order to apply for an SBA loan. This seems a little counterintuitive because I quit my job in order to pursue my own business. I was unable to obtain an SBA loan, but my business counselor at SIPA encouraged me to fundraise in different ways (microloans, crowdfunding).

My SIPA business counselor pushed me to refine my business plan...and refine it some more. After getting guidance on what really matters in the business plan, I was able to show my business plan to potential investors without hesitation. 

The main goal of Found Coffee is to satisfy the customer in East Los Angeles and surrounding neighborhoods, where there is a need for good coffee. I wish to create a space for community in one of Los Angeles’ up and coming neighborhoods. Found Coffee is meant to be a gathering place for Angelenos to enjoy coffee, tea, pastries, and each other's company.

Found will be set apart as a company that focuses on seeking wonderful coffee from within California’s very borders. I will infuse California in the details within Found—from hiring California artists for the interior to carrying coffee from California roasters. Because I'm California born-and-raised, my love for my home state will be reflected within the walls of Found. I hope that Found clientele will foster an appreciation for and bring continued support to the vendors that come from their very community. I'm hoping that the unique experience, the beautiful space, and the personable customer service and the quality products will bring customers back to Found Coffee time and time again. 

Learn more about Asian Pacific Islander Small Business Program at www.apisbp.org and Search to Involve Pilipino Americans at www.sipa-online.org.  

Rising Up – Building a Neighborhood with Hands of Resiliency

As we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and as a Supporting Cosponsor of SBA’s National Small Business Week, National CAPACD is sharing stories from our members and from AAPI small businesses across the country. Renaissance Economic Development Corporation (a subsidiary of Asian Americans for Equality in New York City) shares their story.

The March 2015 gas explosion in New York City’s East Village neighborhood resulted in the unfortunate destruction of three buildings, and the temporary closure of many small businesses already operating on thin profit margins.  Fortunately, Renaissance was able to offer East Village entrepreneurs a pathway to financial stability during their forced closure.  The staff at Renaissance quickly mobilized following the incident and created the East Village Explosion Recovery Loan Program, which is offering loans up to $50,000 at two-percent interest for businesses impacted by the explosion.  Undoubtedly, neighborhood businesses are extremely grateful for the affordable financial relief offered through this program. 

Renaissance was able to organize quickly in part because of their experience with administering other emergency business loans, including their Post (Hurricane) Sandy Recovery Loan, which has to date granted over 170 emergency business loans.  Asian Americans for Equality/Renaissance also played a critical role in the economic recovery of Chinatown following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.  The Renaissance 9-11 Emergency Loan Program was formed quickly with an initial loan pool of $150,000 to mitigate the economic impacts of 9/11 on Chinatown businesses, many of whom were unfamiliar with working with and accessing resources from relief agencies. 

Renaissance provides a variety of loan products for small businesses, which complement their language and culturally-appropriate business counseling services.  Since its creation in 1997, Renaissance has supplied over $30 million in affordable loans to hundreds of businesses, and provided technical assistance on subjects such as trademarks, franchise opportunities, as well as general counseling for entrepreneurs seeking one-on-one expertise.

Learn more about Renaissance Economic Development Corporation at  http://renaissance-ny.org/wordpress/; and Asian Americans for Equality at http://www.aafe.org/

 

Hing Hay CoWorks – Creating a Space for Innovation

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As we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and as a Supporting Cosponsor of SBA’s National Small Business Week, National CAPACD is sharing stories from our members and from AAPI small businesses across the country. The Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda) shares their story.

IDEA Space, the community economic development program of SCIDpda, is launching its newest venture, Hing Hay Coworks, this May. Formerly a Korean restaurant located in the heart of the Seattle Chinatown International District, Hing Hay Coworks is a newly renovated coworking space intended to provide a collaborative and flexible workspace for local freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses.

According to Quang Nguyen, IDEA Space’s Senior Economic Development Specialist and Manager of Hing Hay Coworks, “It is going to build a community of people who hopefully will be not only about creating new businesses, but also about caring for the neighborhood . . . people who want to not only preserve the culture but also to reimagine it, to see it as an innovative place.”

Planning and construction began in 2012, and with the space now completed, hopes are high for the future of Hing Hay Coworks. “One of the main things that I hope Hing Hay Coworks will become is another ladder of opportunity for the community,” said Nguyen. “Five years from now, I hope that it becomes a thriving entrepreneurial space that is attracting a lot of entrepreneurs from around this region as well as across the Asia/Pacific Rim region. I think we have an opportunity as a neighborhood—because we have the cultural assets and knowledge of how to interact and build relationships among communities from different countries of the Asia/Pacific Rim region—to exchange ideas and to make this region even more vibrant.”

Learn more about SCIDpda at www.scidpda.org.

Expanding Business with Passion - Tamashii Ramen House

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As we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and as a Supporting Cosponsor of SBA’s National Small Business Week, National CAPACD is sharing stories from our members and from AAPI small businesses across the country. Wai Ling Chin from the Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment in Los Angeles shares her client’s story:

Kin Cheong Fung and his family migrated to the U.S. in 2012. Mr. Fung is a seasoned business man with over 25 years of restaurant, food and beverages experience in Hong Kong. Using his life savings, he started the first Tamashii Ramen House in Sherman Oaks, CA. Mr. Fung has a very clear vision and mission -- to develop his brand: Tamashii Ramen House.

Mr. Fung had fears about getting into the restaurant industry, which has a high failure rate for small businesses during their first year. However, Mr. Fung followed his entrepreneurial spirit and his passion for impeccable food service.

Business was thriving at the Tamashii Ramen House. One year later, Mr. Fung started his second restaurant in the heart of NoHo Arts District in North Hollywood. Unforeseen obstacles arose when he experienced a five month delay in building improvement and renovation plans, forcing him to stretch his cash reserves. Mr. Fung then came to PACE to apply for a $15,000 SBA loan for working capital that would be used for needed supplies for the grand opening. This new restaurant is now filled with custom-made furniture, all new equipment, nice ambience and delicious food. Mr. Fung has even applied for a liquor license to increase revenues.

In December 2014, Mr. Fung opened his third Tamashii Ramen House in the busy business district of Pasadena. His three restaurants have since created over 40 jobs. Mr. Fung said they are constantly making small changes and improvements to better serve their customers.

Learn more about Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment at www.pacela.org.