In keeping with the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Month theme of “Advancing Leaders Through Opportunity” from the Federal Asian Pacific American Council (FAPAC), ICIC is highlighting AAPI-owned businesses that are seizing opportunities to advance leaders and research aimed at growing awareness to generate more opportunities in the AAPI community.
We want to elevate a few leaders from AAPI-owned businesses inside our alumni network.
Westcoast Warehousing & Trucking, Inc.
Founder Jay Patel took a chance 25 years ago when he left a pharmacist career to launch a trucking, warehouse, and e-commerce business. A leader in last-mile transportation from ports, airports, and distribution centers, the Compton, Calif.-based business has expanded to more than 500,000 square feet of warehouse space and serves all major retailers. Under the leadership of Patel, Westcoast Warehousing and Trucking has earned multiple IC100 Awards. Read More
FreshZen was launched in 2016 by New York native and Santander Bank’s Cultivate Small Business alum Ruby Chan. Chan learned the trade of cooking by watching her parents in their restaurant. After discovering a market for authentic Asia sauces, she quit her accounting job to start her business. Today, her sauces are in Whole Foods and more than 70 markets and specialty food stores across New England. Read More
Chris Ko, CEO & Co-founder of ER2, delivering the Key Note at ICIC’s 2021 National Conference
Chris Ko always dreamed of creating a company that would provide jobs and stability for young families like his. After working in venture capital and private equity, he left finance during the 2008 recession and went into electronics recycling. In 2010, he partnered with Rick Krug to form ER2, with a mission to recycle electronics, provide IT services, and create jobs and opportunities at the hyper-local level. The company quickly found its niche and grew fast, helping large companies and organizations install new computer systems and networks while refurbishing and reselling old electronics. They now have their worldwide headquarters in Memphis and eight locations across the US. The company focuses on hiring from underserved neighborhoods and providing opportunities for employee development, paying employees to volunteer in their communities, and providing extensive training, best-in-class benefits packages, and career guidance. ER2 also focuses on breaking down the digital divide in cities by providing electronics and computers for those without the means to purchase expensive technology. ER2 was one of ICIC’s Inner City 100 businesses in 2021, and in 2018, they were awarded ICIC’s Chevron Dorothy A. Terrell Community Impact Award. Read More
Searching for the Golden Mountain: Demystifying Asian American and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Poverty in Under-Resourced Communities and Its Implications for Economic Development
This blog, written by ICIC Senior Research Associate Devon Yee, highlights economic diversity among Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. It shows how treating these groups as a “model minority” impedes economic development in their communities. Read More
Take time during this month to “advance leaders through opportunity” by supporting your local Asian American and Pacific Islander small businesses and nominating them for some of our upcoming programs specifically designed for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)- and/or woman-owned businesses:
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