Asian small business suffered huge losses, helped least: Study

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The Asian American Federation (AAF), based in New York, released its report June 3, 2021, entitled “Small Business, Big Losses: The Impact of the Covid19 Crisis on Asian Small Business” to highlight the economic impact of the pandemic on this sector and the challenges it faces.

Established in 1989, AAF says it works with over 70 Asian American member and partner organizations

Asian Americans form approximately 16% of the population in New York City numbering 1.3 million people, and are growing faster than all other demographic groups in the city, noted a press release from AAF.

Yet, they make up 20 percent of New York City’s businesses before the pandemic and were the fastest growing segment of small businesses in the city, the AAF finds.

Now, many Asian-owned small businesses may not survive as they continue to be marginalized and neglected, according to an AAF survey which the organization says, “proves beyond doubt that the economic impact of COVID crisis was a disaster for Asian-owned small businesses in 2020.”

From revenue loss, to mounting rent and debt obligations, and even business closures, Asian small business suffered.

“With recovery programs not being configured to meet their unique needs and with a lack of timely language access, even applying for assistance was a major hurdle, hindering their recovery and jeopardizing their survival,” the AAF contends.

Meanwhile, fear of being a target of rising anti-Asian sentiment pervades the community, adding to a list of mounting challenges, the report says.

Key findings of the study on Asian small business in NYC:

  • 55 percent of businesses lost 75 percent or more in revenue.
  • Two in three did not receive COVID-19 relief assistance in their language.
  • Three out of five business owners surveyed were worried about anti-Asian bias or hate crimes affecting them or their staff.

Funding support for the survey was provided by the Surdna Foundation.

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