Illinois recognizes May as National Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, hosting events soon


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The state of Illinois is celebrating National Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month with a series of events and resources in May.

Illinois is hosting events to support AAPI business owners with resources to thrive during COVID-19.

The events, hosted by the Illinois Department of Commerce (DCEO) Office of Minority Economic Empowerment (OMEE), will include webinars for businesses, featuring visits from community and civic leaders beginning May 12.

Below are the scheduled events. They are free to join.

• May 12, 2021 at 11:00 a.m., “Women’s Webinar Wednesday: Business Growth Opportunities for AAPI Community Register

Join the SBA and DCEO-OMEE for a presentation on resources exclusively marketed for AAPI- and women-owned businesses by discussing ways to access business growth opportunities.

• May 20, 2021 at noon, “Addressing Anti-Asian Hate and Supporting the AAPI Business Community”  Register

AAPI-owned businesses nationwide have been targeted disproportionately and suffered significant loss during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Stop AAPI Hate, between March 2020 and February 2021, Asian-owned businesses were the primary site of AAPI discrimination with 35.4% of reported incidents. Join a series of business and community leaders for a discussion on how to support AAPI businesses in Illinois amid the trying times.  

• May 25, 2021 at 11:00 a.m., “Fireside Chat: AAPI Business Leaders Thriving Across Illinois  Register

Hear from a group of small businesses throughout the state as they share their experiences, including barriers they have overcome, success stories, ways they have leveraged resources, and how Illinois can become more of a place where AAPI businesses can thrive.

• May 26, 2021 at 10:00 a.m., “OMEE & Illinois SBDC Network Presents: Advancing the Development of Minority Entrepreneurship (ADME) – Marketing Strategies”  Register

Join DCEO and the SBDC Chinese Mutual Aid Association (CMAA) for a workshop on marketing strategies tailored to AAPI businesses to help increase your visibility and market share.

• May 27, 2021 at 9:00 a.m., “World Trade Month: Doing Business in China” Register

DCEO will make its Office of Trade and Investment available to lead an expert panel, including Chinese exporting agencies, providing an overview of opportunities, trends, challenges, and resources for Illinois business interested in the Chinese marketplace. Presentations will be in English, but slides will include both English and Mandarin. Panelists are prepared to answer questions in either language.

• May 28, 2021 at noon, “Navigating the Benefits of the American Rescue Plan for AAPI Small Businesses and Avoiding Predatory Lending”

US Sen. Tammy Duckworth joins DCEO Acting Director Garcia for opening remarks and a conversation on the latest federal stimulus enacted, the American Rescue Plan Act. Join this conversation with representatives from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Small Business Majority, the Consumer Fraud Bureau, and the AAPI Constituent Advocate who will highlight how federal, state, and local partners can support AAPI businesses in accessing funding and technical assistance.

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