While many small businesses were affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, 90% of Asian-American owned businesses said they lost revenue in 2020, according to a study by the New York Federal Reserve, and the National Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship found that 84% of AAPI business owners were negatively impacted by COVID. Many of these businesses are still trying to get back to their pre-pandemic normal.
The Chicago Association of REALTORS® Foundation continues to help local small business owners affected by the pandemic through its small business grants. During Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Month in May, we awarded two grants to AAPI locally-owned businesses: a non-profit and a restaurant.
Make sure to stop by and support their establishments.
Established in January 2022, Nepalese Aid is a non-profit that works to make our communities strong and inclusive by supporting the Nepalese American community. Not only do they connect Nepalese Americans with social, workforce, legal and health services; they also provide youth mentorship, support Nepali-owned businesses and coordinate assistance to Nepal.
The company’s objectives are to:
- Provide social services offered by local and federal government to Nepalese immigrant families living in the Chicagoland
- Connect unemployed or underemployed individuals with interview and resume preparation support, job training and employment opportunities through partnerships with workforce development organizations
- Assist individuals with the application process for healthcare, immigration and government benefits
- Connect entrepreneurs with business services providers to promote their business and increase their revenue
Nepalese Aid’s ultimate goal is to create a strong and engaged Nepalese American community that is safe, healthy and able to achieve its full potential in the U.S. The funds from this grant will help Nepalese Aid begin to work towards these goals.
Parachute is one of Chicago’s most acclaimed restaurants, with a Michelin star to its name. The chef/owners of Parachute, Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark, serve modern, creative Korean-American food in the Avondale neighborhood at its 50-seat restaurant.
The restaurant industry became unstable during the pandemic and Parachute took a hit. They pivoted to serving takeout options, shipping frozen foods and more, but between the loss of business due to forced closure and the costs of constantly pivoting, the last two years have been challenging both financially and emotionally. Since then, Parachute has found it harder and harder to break even.
Despite their hardships, Kim and Clark have been active in the community. They spoke out against Asian American hate crimes and joined 100 other restaurants in the #doughsomething fundraiser, which raised $50,000 for Asian Americans Advancing Justice to bring awareness to anti-Asian hate and encourage others to fight against racism. They also recently took part in helping fund food relief through ChefsForUkraine. Kim also founded The Abundance Setting, a non-profit that supports working mothers and women in the culinary industry with mentorship, meal relief and resources.
This grant will help keep the restaurant operating and help them continue to raise awareness for issues facing Asian Americans and working mothers.
We will continue to support other Chicago-based, minority-owned small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the year. Keep an eye out for our small business grant application announcements and share them with those who qualify. Together, we will continue to uplift our communities and those who keep them thriving.