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Obama administration aims to get more Asians in business

President Obama’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) kicked off a campaign today to promote entrepreneurial growth among AAPIs. The 9 a.m. summit, held on the Microsoft campus in Mountain View, is part of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

The Initiative was created under the Clinton administration as a response to grassroots efforts to address health disparity issues, a problem that the advisory commission is still working to address, said commission chair Daphne Kwok. Since then, the project has expanded to address other problems like bullying and the “model minority myth.”

While the need for more Asian entrepreneurs may not make sense in Silicon Valley, where a large majority of the tech company bigwigs come from this demographic group, Kwok said AAPIs still face obstacles, especially in places outside of the Valley.

“There are many parts of the community with huge drop-out rates and high poverty rates,” Kwok said. “We need to make sure [AAPIs] have access to policies and programs, and that we’re included in their development.”

In fact, Kwok added, most AAPI business owners, who represent 10 percent of the country’s entrepreneurs, do not have access to loan contracts or capital.

The advisory commission, which is expecting a full crowd for today, will use the four-hour long event to guide their plan of action for the rest of this campaign.

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