UPS Provides $150,000 in Grants to AAPIA Owned Companies

May is Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. And UPS marks the occasion by awarding grants to AAPI-owned companies.

This $150,000 grant program is part of UPS’s Proudly Unstoppable initiative. And the Asian American & Pacific Islander Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship (ACE) helps manage grants.

On the proud unstoppable grants of UPS and National ACE

Eligible companies can apply for a $5,000 grant. To be eligible, companies must be at least 51 percent owned by AAPI, be a for-profit corporation in the US with no more than three locations or nationally branded ties, and be adversely affected by the pandemic.

In addition to the grant program, UPS promotes AAPI entrepreneurs on its website. And the company is offering a limited-edition Express Box designed by AAPI artist Mojo Wang.

This is the second year for this program, which awarded 27 scholarships of $5,000 in 2021. Past grant recipients include pet stores, bakeries, artists, wellness brands, and even electrical contractors. Thus, companies in almost every industry and part of the country that meet the criteria can apply for funds.

The Impact of COVID on Small Businesses Owned by AAPIA

Unfortunately, AAPI companies have been hit the hardest in recent years. The pandemic has affected almost all small businesses in some ways. But an increase in anti-AAPI rhetoric and hate crime has created additional challenges for many businesses in this community.

National ACE, along with Reimagine Main Street, conducted a national survey in 2021. They compared the results of AAPI business owners with those of white, black, Hispanic and Indigenous entrepreneurs. The survey found that AAPI business owners are currently less likely to see signs of business recovery than many of their peers. They also expect a longer road to recovery than white and Hispanic entrepreneurs. In addition to actual business challenges, about 40 percent of AAPI business owners reported being blamed for the pandemic. And many have faced vandalism or discrimination in the past two years.

Fortunately, many AAPI entrepreneurs are becoming increasingly optimistic with the availability of vaccines and declining hospitalization rates. However, they are less optimistic than the business community as a whole. So programs like the Proudly Unstoppable initiative are still beneficial in leveling the playing field for underserved and underserved businesses.

About the proudly unstoppable initiative

The application period for the Proudly Unstoppable AAPI Scholarships from ACE and UPS has closed for this round. And the companies are now in the process of notifying the winners.

However, the Proudly Unstoppable initiative is an ongoing program that supports businesses facing all kinds of barriers. To date, the program has awarded more than $1 million in grants. Past funding rounds have supported Black, LatinX and LGBTQ+ owned companies. And this is the second year that UPS and ACE have partnered to support the AAPI business. So there are probably even more opportunities for a large number of entrepreneurs in the future.

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