UPS offers $150,000 in grant money to AAPI-owned businesses
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. UPS celebrates the occasion by awarding grant funding to AAPI-owned companies.
This $150,000 scholarship program is part of the UPS Proudly Unstoppable Initiative. The Latin American and Pacific Islands Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ACE) helps administer grants.
About UPS and National ACE’s Proudly Unstoppable Grants
Eligible companies can apply for grants worth $5,000. To qualify, companies must be at least 51 percent owned by AAPI, be a for-profit company in the United States with no more than three locations or national brand affiliations, and be negatively affected by the pandemic.
In addition to the grant program, UPS highlights AAPI entrepreneurs on its website. The company offers a limited edition Express Box designed by AAPI artist Mojo Wang.
This is the second year for this program, which awarded $275,000 in 2021. Previous grantees include pet stores, bakeries, entertainers, health brands, and even electrical contractors. So companies in almost every industry and every part of the country that meet the criteria can apply for funds.
The impact of COVID on small businesses owned by AAPI
Unfortunately, AAPI companies have been some of the hardest hit over the past two years. The pandemic affected almost all small businesses in some way. But the rise of anti-AAPI rhetoric and hate crimes have added additional challenges for many businesses in this community.
The National ACE conducted a nationwide survey along with Reimagine Main Street in 2021. They measured results from AAPI business owners versus those from white, black, Hispanic, and Native business owners. The survey found that AAPI business owners are less likely than their peers to currently see signs of business recovery. They also expect a longer road to recovery from white and Hispanic business owners. In addition to actual business challenges, about 40 percent of AAPI business owners report that they have been blamed for the pandemic. Many of them have been subjected to vandalism or discrimination over the past two years.
Fortunately, the availability of vaccines and declining hospitalizations have many AAPI business owners feeling increasingly optimistic. However, they are less optimistic than the business community as a whole. Therefore, programs like the Proudly Unstoppable initiative can still be useful in the evening for underprivileged and disadvantaged businesses.
About a proudly unstoppable initiative
The application period for the ACE and UPS’s Proudly Unstoppable AAPI scholarships for this round is closed. The companies are in the process of notifying the winners now.
However, the Proudly Unstoppable Initiative is an ongoing program that supports businesses facing all kinds of barriers. To date, the program has provided more than $1 million in grants. Previous funding rounds have supported Black, LatinX and LGBTQ+ owned companies. This is the second year that UPS and ACE have collaborated to support the AAPI business community. So there will likely be more opportunities for a large group of entrepreneurs to move forward.
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