Kane County’s Asian-American businesses and export opportunities to Asia took two big steps forward this week with the announcements that a new, locally-based International Trade Center satellite office will open in mid-September and the Asian American Business Expo is coming to Chicago this weekend.
The expo’s mission is to promote entrepreneurship, leadership and job creation for Asian Americans and immigrants. and the Illinois International Trade Center at Governor’s State University will speak at the session: Doing Business in Asia- Pacific Economic Forum from 10:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014. The session will introduce the White House Initiative on Asian American and Pacific Islanders.
Overall, the one-day event will feature more than 20 workshops and 60 exhibits. The Expo is free of charge and open to everyone.
“But, hey,” you’re saying to yourself. “I live in Kane County. Why should I care about a business expo in Chicago?”
Well, there are more than a couple powerful local connections.
For one, many of the participants will be from the Laotian community in Elgin, and many business owners have expressed keen interest in the Asian American and Pacific Islanders program.
According to the Illinois government AAPI webpage, between 1975 and 1983, 3,500 Laotians arrived in the Chicago area and, “thanks to sponsors, religious groups and government programs, relocated to Rockford, Joliet and — most notably — Elgin.”
By 1991, Elgin was home to 3,000 Laotians, Illinois’ largest Laotian community. An estimated 10,000 Laotians now live in Elgin and the surrounding area, the website says.
Second is the announcement that the International Trade Center at GSU will set up a satellite office in Naperville, starting in mid-September. The office will be housed at GSU Naperville Education Center.
The ITC Naperville Center will focus on serving the small business in Will County, Kendall County and Kane County, which has a higher rate for exporting growth.
George Mui, the national coordinator for AAPI and market-access team leader for the U.S. Department of Commerce, is going to fly to Chicago to visit the Naperville facility on Friday, Sept. 5. He’s also going to serve as the event moderator for the Expo, where presenters from ITA, Ex-Im Bank, MBDA, Illinois Department of Commerce and the city of Chicago will provide government resources for promoting global business development in Asia.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Asian-American population grew by 43 percent between 2000 and 2010 to more than 15 million. The state of Illinois is home to 600,000 Asian Americans, and 60,000 Asian-American-owned businesses.
“We encourage non-Asian-Americans to participate in the Expo,” the Expo’s website says. “We welcome the opportunity to network and collaborate. We encourage non-Asian-Americans to leverage our cultural heritage to support U.S. export initiatives and job creation.”
The Partners of the Expo 2014
The partners of the Asian American Business Expo 2014 are:
- OCA Asian-American Advocates – Greater Chicago Chapter (OCA Chicago)
- Association of Chinese-American Scientists and Engineers (ACSE)
- Asian Real Estate Association o America – Greater Chicago Chapter (AREAA Chicago)
- Asians with Disabilities Outreach Project Think-Tank (ADOPT)
- Korean-American Association of Chicago (KAAC)
- U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)
- City of Chicago
- Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council (CMSDC)