San Diego, CA–A recent study commissioned by the Asian Business Association of San Diego finds that Asian Pacific Islander (API) owned businesses generated $5 billion in economic impact in the San Diego region in 2021.
The Asian Business Association of San Diego study, developed with the support of the San Diego and Imperial Small Business Development Center Network, T-Mobile, and Booz Allen Hamilton, set out to thoroughly examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Asian and Pacific Islander-owned business community.
“This report stands alone in the nation in providing the most current and in-depth look at API businesses,” said Asian Business Association San Diego President and CEO Jason Paguio. “The report’s findings and conclusions are critical to understanding the unique issues and challenges facing this business community.”
The study and report utilized census data, survey responses, and economic modeling software to build a comprehensive profile and outlook. Survey data from the United States Census Bureau identified approximately 24,692 self-employed API residents in the county and 9,100 API-owned businesses creating approximately 90,000 total jobs.
“The pandemic has upended San Diego’s economic growth, especially within the Asian and Pacific Islander community. Despite the onslaught of challenges, from racial discrimination to employee retention, API-owned businesses in the San Diego region generated $5 billion in this last year. Forty percent of that revenue came from District 6, which I represent,” said Councilmember Chris Cate.
The study also finds that San Diego API-owned businesses are disproportionately affected by the pandemic when compared to businesses overall. One of out ten owners reported being racially harassed or discriminated against during the pandemic.
The association has been a critical supporter not only of local API-owned businesses but the greater API community, helping provide the resources needed for community members to recover from the economic and social impacts of the pandemic.
The Asian Business Association San Diego plans to use the findings of this study to help local decision-makers craft policies in 2022 that better support minority-owned businesses recover from the pandemic as well as allow ABA to provide greater and culturally appropriate services as a small business development center.
“This report is an important way to measure the impact of our region’s API-owned businesses and the vital contributions they are making – both by building sustainable communities through inclusive economic development and by employing a diverse workforce. It also reveals the toll the COVID-19 pandemic has taken, hitting API business sectors particularly hard, coupled with hateful xenophobia and discrimination. There is no place for this intolerance in San Diego, or anywhere in California,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins. “Since the pandemic began, our focus at the state level has been protecting, assisting, and finding solutions. Our 2021 historic relief package provided billions in COVID-19 small business grants, and tax relief, as well as an expanded California State Stimulus package, EITC tax payments, and rent relief. Our 2022 budget discussions will build upon this foundation, and we will continue to look for ways to support our small business owners, who are the heart of our communities.”
“The Asian and Pacific Islander community is an essential element of San Diego’s cultural fabric,” said San Diego City Council President Sean Elo-Rivera. “The same holds true for the API business community. The study presented by ABASD highlights the complexity of the challenges the API business community faces and the depth of their role as a pillar of San Diego’s economy.”
“Asian businesses help to drive our local economy by creating jobs, providing goods and services, and contributing to the communities where they are open for business,” said Nathan Fletcher, Chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. “The pandemic was very hard for small businesses all across our region, and while we provided more than $64 million in financial relief, many businesses will require more time before they achieve pre-pandemic sales and staff levels.”
Founded in 1990, the Asian Business Association of San Diego represents the interests of over 30,000 Asian Pacific Islander-owned businesses throughout San Diego County. The association believes in building sustainable communities through inclusive economic development and a qualified diverse workforce.