The Asian American Federation (AAF) delivered $1,000 grants each to 40 small business owners who responded to its COVID-19 Economic Impact Survey for Asian American Small Business Owners.
The small business owners showed up in person at the LIRR Murray Hill station in Flushing on Tuesday, Oct. 13 to receive their grants. AAF plans to mail out the rest to those who were unable to attend the event.
Supported by a generous grant of $100,000 dollars from the Surdna Foundation, AAF was able to offer the grant to randomly selected survey respondents.
“We are glad to help support our small business owners now and hope this leads to some way in helping with the rebuilding efforts. Thank you to all the small business owners who stay resilient in this difficult time,” said Sophy Yem, program officer of Philanthropy, Surdna Foundation.
Ahyoung Kim, assistant director of Small Business Programs at AAF, thanked everyone who participated in the survey.
“The findings of this survey show how gravely our community was impacted by the pandemic, but more importantly, highlights how our community has been left out of meaningful assistance,” Kim said. “We will be publishing a report on the findings from this survey, as well as sharing what we learned through our advocacy efforts.”
While it is widely known that Asian small businesses have seen steep declines in revenue from January of this year, the preliminary findings from AAF’s survey paints a devastating picture of the state of Asian American small businesses in New York.
Of the respondents to AAF’s survey, 55 percent stated that their business operations have been impacted by COVID-19, and over 31 percent said their business was temporarily closed. Over 99 percent of respondents reported declines in their revenue, with almost 55 percent of them reporting more than a 75 percent decline in their revenue compared to pre-pandemic times.
Asian American small business owners also faced extreme difficulty in accessing working capital to keep their businesses afloat.
When asked about access to information for government assistance or loans for small businesses, over 40 percent said they felt there was not enough information in their language. Over 35 percent said their experience difficulty just in connecting with a service provider, and 22 percent said they found information on such programs confusing.
The findings from this survey will be released as a brief report in the near future, after more data analysis, according to AAF.
Councilman Peter Koo acknowledged AAF and the Surdna Foundation for their assistance in helping Asian small business owners impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We all know this is the toughest time to do business and the government is not helping enough, so on behalf of the City Council, I want to thank the foundation and all of you small business owners for being the backbone of our economy,” Koo said.