Letter from the President & CEO
The Asian Chamber of Commerce Colorado provides culturally competent economic development and business opportunities for our Members, Partners, and Community. This is a mission statement that requires more than just business acumen – it requires community participation, an eagerness for social advocacy, and full comprehension of the unique challenges that impact the AANHPI business and workforce community.
- Does our AANHPI community still face challenges of language accessibility and cultural competency in financial and economic opportunities? Yes! This is an ongoing issue, and the ACC supports both sides of this challenge – the small business owner and the for profit/non-profit entities. This is where the concept of cultural competency comes into play...
The ACC has made substantial progress in our efforts to provided 1-on-1 business counseling for AANHPI Small Businesses – most notably, we have expanded our initiative to Colorado Springs where Brent Sabati, Southern Colorado ACC Business Counselor, is making the connections on behalf of the ACC. The ACC is pursuing funding that will increase our capacity to take the program to the western slope and northern Colorado.
The ACC has also applied for funding to implement the AANHPI small business database which will increase communication and engagement statewide.
The ACC has partnered with District 3 Denver Councilwoman Jamie Torres, Denver Street Partnership, and businesses on South Federal – from Alameda south to Mississippi – to define and reinstate the Little Saigon Business District.
- Is there disparity in procurement contracts available to our AANHPI small business owners? Yes! There is a disparity in State, metro and corporate contracts being awarded, not just in availability but also in utilization.
ACC is an advisor on the Colorado OEDIT External Advisory Committee which advises the equity strategic planning management team through the lens of diversity, equity, and accessibility.
In July 2023, the ACC participated in the Colorado Supplier Diversity Partners of Equitable Business Committee meeting to refute or confirm disparity study findings and recommendations.
- Is there disparity in interviewing and hiring first and next generation AANHPI applying for employment? Yes! We encourage employers to understand cultural norms and to let go of the expectation of perfect English composition in an on-line application and perfect communication during a face-to-face interview.
The ACC continues to present DEI training to corporate, academic and government agencies. The training has a focus on AANHPI history in Colorado, demographics and helpful guidelines for interviewing and hiring new immigrants and refugees.
The ACC makes important cultural connections for Corporate Members through our Business After Hours Networking Cultural Series which has featured events with the Indian, Cambodian, Mongolian, and Filipino communities. Events with the Hmong, Lao and Nepalese are being planned. Guests have the opportunity to understand the diversity of the AANHPI communities along with their concerns and challenges.
- Is there an actual Bamboo Ceiling that confronts AANHPI professionals? Yes – especially for AANHPI young adults and women! Low level and low mobility jobs are typical of the Bamboo Ceiling.
Earlier this year, the ACC facilitated several training courses for AANHPI Affinity Groups and Employer Resource Groups – especially those ERGs that are newly formed or reforming after COVID. These training courses provided a culturally competent – and safe - space for feedback, as well as support in navigating the Bamboo Ceiling and other issues that impact the AANHPI workforce.
Volunteers from the ACC Board of Directors also held Bamboo Ceiling information sessions for young adult AANHPI women who will soon be entering the workforce.
Providing culturally competent economic development and business opportunities is only one fraction of the full AANHPI experience. The ACC is proud to work in partnership with other non-profit and community movements that provide legal aid, health and mental health, civil rights, and social advocacy that address all the needs of the AANHPI Community. It was with these partners that the ACC participated in the Lunar New Year Allies group which successfully brought HB 23-1271 to Governor Polis’ desk. On June 2nd, 2023, Governor Polis signed the bill which makes Lunar New Year an official observed holiday in Colorado!
These are just a few examples of how the dedicated ACC Staff, Board, and volunteers fulfill our mission statement. We thank you for your ongoing support and encouragement! Don’t miss any of our events and activities by going to our website to sign-on to receive our e-newsletter.
Salamat po! Thank you!