California’s Asian Businesses Harder Hit by Covid, Survey Finds
(Bloomberg) -- Asian American small businesses in Southern California experienced bigger declines in activity compared to other similarly sized enterprises in the area, a survey released Wednesday found.
Nearly 33% of 400 Asian American businesses surveyed said their operations more than halved during the pandemic, compared to less than 25% of Southern California small businesses overall, according to the report from the Asian Business Association of Los Angeles and UCLA’s Asian American Studies Center and Center for Neighborhood Knowledge. Almost two-thirds of Asian respondents reported a “large negative effect” due to Covid-19 compared to about 38% of all respondents.
The report found that Asian American businesses applied to and received federal Paycheck Protection Program loans at lower rates compared to overall Southern California businesses. Many owners said they did not know about government aid programs or, when they applied, didn’t hear back from banks.
About 6% of small businesses in California turned to family and friends for help according to a U.S. Census survey, but Asian American businesses asked their personal networks for help at about double the rate. A February survey from the National Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship of nearly 900 businesses found that more than 60% of Asian American- and Pacific Islander-owned enterprises missed out on aid because they did not believe they were eligible.
“We need our voices to be heard so elected officials and public agencies can develop and shape better laws to better serve the Asian American business and our diverse community,” said Dennis Huang, CEO of Asian Business Association of Los Angeles. “Many immigrant families, retailers, restaurants, salons, convenience stores and donut shops continue to struggle.” Among U.S. cities, Los Angeles has the second-largest Asian population after New York.
Lack of information about government aid in Asian languages was a common barrier, especially for first-generation propietors.
Restaurants, travel agencies, nail and hair salons, accounting, and healthcare services were among those surveyed. Three out of four businesses were immigrant-owned and nearly half were owned by women. About one-third of owners were 55 or older. Most had no more than four employees, including the owner.
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