Biden-Harris Administration hosts Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Economic Summit in Honolulu
On Friday, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders hosted an in-person economic summit at the Hawai‘i Capitol Building to connect Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander community members with federal resources and opportunities resulting from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda.
The event, the fifth in a series of regional economic summits launched by the Biden-Harris Administration in January, was held in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of the Treasury, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, U.S. Department of Energy, the National Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship and local leaders.
Officials including Deputy Assistant to the President and Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Senior Liaison Erika L. Moritsugu, WHIAANHPI Executive Director Krystal Ka‘ai, Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget Nani Coloretti, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz, Congressmembers Ed Case and Jill Tokuda, Governor Josh Green, Lieutenant Governor Sylvia Luke, House Speaker Scott K. Saiki, and members of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders were among the dozens of speakers who addressed attendees at the convening.
Representatives from federal agencies also shared ways to effectively apply for federal procurement, jobs, grants, and programs, and the event included a listening session with members of the President’s Advisory Commission.
“The President’s economic plan is working and giving breathing room for American families and businesses across the country, including Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities,” said Erika L. Moritsugu, Deputy Assistant to the President and Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Senior Liaison at the White House. “This summit is part of a series of engagements around the country as part of the President’s broader equity agenda, and his commitment to advance economic equity and growth in our nation. It’s an honor to be here in my home state of Hawai‘i, to hear from community members and connect them to our programs.”
“Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders were devastated by the disproportionate economic impacts of the pandemic, and we saw how this impacted families, workers, and businesses here in Hawai‘i,” said Krystal Ka‘ai, Executive Director of WHIAANHPI and the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders. “Today, we are making good on the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to expand economic opportunity and provide the tools community members need to recover and thrive. Because AA and NHPI small businesses are the backbone of our economy. And when they succeed, we all prosper.”
“Hawaii entrepreneurs have shown incredible resiliency over the last two years and have set records with new small business applications,” said Associate Administrator for the Office of Field Operations Jennifer Kim. “The Small Business Administration is committed to reaching AANHPI entrepreneurs through these summits and the year-round work of our local district offices. We support the innovation, competition, and unique experiences that AANHPI communities bring to the larger small business community.
“The past years have brought to the forefront the urgency of supply chain resilience and formidable infrastructure. It also highlighted the necessity of diversifying energy sources and turning to sustainable energy practices. Hawai‘i, for example, has been hit especially hard by rising gas prices,” said Chiling Tong, National Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship’s president and CEO. “The Economic Summits are one important step for the federal government to ensure that their resources are reaching those who need it the most. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to connect the underserved segments of our population to the people and solutions that can address their unmet needs.”
In May 2021, President Joe Biden re-established and reinvigorated the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders through Executive Order 14031. The Initiative’s whole-of-government approach engages federal agencies to improve interagency policymaking, program development, and outreach, and address barriers impacting Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders across the country.
In January 2023, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders launched its Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander economic summit series following the release of the Biden-Harris Administration’s first-ever national strategy to advance equity and opportunity for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities, which outlines agency commitments to strengthen capacity building over the next two years.
On Feb. 16, President Biden also signed an Executive Order to strengthen the federal government’s equity mandate and formalize his goal of increasing the share of federal contracting dollars awarded to Small Disadvantaged Businesses by 50% by 2025.