Setting Roots in Rocky Soil:

The State of AAPI-owned Businesses in Massachusetts

June 18, 2024

Despite the fact that 1 in 12 residents in Massachusetts are of AAPI heritage, and AAPI businesses are the fastest growing in our state, Asian businesses remain significantly misunderstood and under-supported. This was painfully evident during the COVID pandemic when AAPI small businesses were hit hard by the loss of customers and struggled to access relief while navigating increased anti-Asian bias.

Driven by the absence of updated, accurate, and disaggregated data that truly mirrors the stories we hear AAPI businesses voice and live on the ground, the Asian Business Empowerment Council (ABEC) at the Asian Community Fund are releasing this multi-year study examining the complex and diverse challenges and opportunities experienced by AAPI entrepreneurs. We know all too well that when the data doesn’t reflect the lived experiences of AAPI businesses, resources do not get allocated to those in need. 

Despite overcoming significant challenges, from exclusionary policies to hate-based violence, in the last two decades alone, the number of AAPI-owned businesses has surged by 187%. However, this report is a stark reminder that the widely consumed narrative that all AAPI businesses are uniformly successful overlooks the vast diversity and unique challenges within the AAPI community.

The findings in this report offer data on how businesses vary across sectors, English language acquisition, immigration history, and more. These insights underscore the significant opportunities that still remain in supporting the growth of AAPI-owned businesses.