AAPI Women-Owned Businesses Face Major Challenges with Over-Mentoring and Underfunding

April 21, 2023 : Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women entrepreneurs are among the fastest-growing demographics. Still, the pandemic has exacerbated existing problems for these women and the families who depend on their income, according to an article in Refinery29. While the number of AAPI business owners is estimated to have decreased by more than a quarter since the pandemic’s start, AAPI women, particularly, have faced significant economic effects. Despite being severely affected, data on AAPI women is “limited and fragmented at best,” the Center for American Progress added. These women have limited access to critical grants, loans and capital, with only $7.7 million of the $800 billion in federal dollars given to small business owners through the Paycheck Protection Program during the pandemic going to AAPI-owned businesses. “Very few” accelerators and incubators are designed to empower women entrepreneurs holistically. When it comes to funding, AAPI women face a double whammy, fighting against the “model minority” myth that assumes they don’t need any help and harmful racial fetishization. A looming recession threatens to widen the funding gap, says Sharita Gruberg, vice president for economic justice at the National Partnership for Women and Families. A large number of AAPI mothers living in multigenerational households are shouldering the brunt of caregiving not just for their children but for elderly parents and extended family members too. AAPI women are also the breadwinners of their families. Still, they often live in “childcare deserts” in the U.S., places where licensed child-care supply doesn’t come close to meeting demand, the Center for American Progress noted.