White House to Launch Summit Series to Advance Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Economic Equity

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The White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI) recently announced it will launch a series of regional economic summits to connect Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) community members directly with federal leaders and resources. The events, set to kick off with an in-person summit at Philadelphia City Hall, are being held in collaboration with the U.S. Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of the Treasury, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, the National Asian / Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship, and local officials.

The series, spurred by a May 2022 recommendation from the President’s Advisory Commission on AA and NHPIs, builds on the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to empowering underserved communities by connecting them directly with federal leaders and resources. It also comes on the heels of the release of the Administration’s first-ever national strategy to advance equity and opportunity for AA and NHPI communities, which outlines agency commitments to strengthen capacity building over the next two years.

“These summits are a part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s resolve to deliver real results for our AA and NHPI communities and businesses – by investing in our competitiveness and by fostering collaboration,” said U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai, who also serves as WHIAANHPI Co-Chair. “Our strength and resilience will not give way to fear and fright. We will continue to push and pull for one another, to fight for justice and economic equity, and to build a society that is freer and fairer – for all Americans.”

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“Generations of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders have enhanced our nation through countless contributions in business, science, technology, the arts, and more,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to creating equitable pathways to the American dream of business ownership for our AA and NHPI communities to ensure their great ideas and skills can create generational economic prosperity. The White House Initiative AA and NHPI Economic Summit series continues important work to close opportunity gaps, ready entrepreneurs to seize new opportunities, and ensure we leverage the full potential of our nation’s talent to build a better America.”

Language barriers and limited outreach have historically held AA and NHPIs back from applying for federal procurement, jobs, grants, and programs. Although approximately 10 percent of small businesses in the U.S. are AA and NHPI-owned, only 2.8 percent of federal contracting dollars went to AA and NHPI small businesses in Fiscal Year 2020, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Through the American Rescue Plan, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Inflation Reduction Act, and other initiatives, the Biden-Harris Administration is making once-in-a-generation investments to address these issues, provide direct relief, and expand economic opportunity. Learn more here.

In May 2021, President Joe Biden re-established and reinvigorated WHIAANHPI through Executive Order 14031. The Initiative’s whole-of-government approach engages federal agencies to improve interagency policymaking, program development, and outreach, and address barriers impacting AA and NHPIs across the country.

In August 2022, WHIAANHPI’s Regional Network hosted an economic summit in Las Vegas, Nevada, and in May 2022, WHIAANHPI partnered with the White House Office of Public Engagement on economic equity events focused on financing and the state of AA and NHPI businesses.

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