Asian businesses make a big impact across Maryland
05/11/2023| Amanda Winters
Asian businesses make a big impact across Maryland
05/11/2023 | Amanda Winters
Having one of the most diverse populations in the nation means unique communities are forming all across the state—and Asians and Pacific Islanders are contributing to that in a big way. Ranking as the #8 most diverse state, Maryland boasts more than 420,000 Asian and Pacific Islander residents.
The Census Bureau's Annual Business Survey reports that Maryland is home to more than 14,000 Asian-owned firms, employing 118,000 workers. And according to the Asian American Chamber of Commerce, Asian American businesses bring in more than half of the revenues generated by all minority businesses . There’s no better time to showcase and support these businesses than during Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. Keep reading to learn about some Maryland-based businesses led by Asians and Pacific Islanders.
Immerse yourself in culture
If you’re searching for dishes that remind you of home (wherever that may be), or you want to explore another region’s cuisine, you’ll find plenty of options across Maryland.
- Explore some of Maryland’s most delicious cuisine within a five-mile stretch. Koreatown, based in Ellicott City, is home to 170 Korean businesses including food shops, barbeque restaurants, and bakeries. There are plenty of authentic offerings to keep your taste buds wanting more.
- Uncle's Hawaiian Grindz wants customers to join its ohana. Chef Kaimana Chee – a native Hawaiian who learned traditional Polynesian, Hawaiian, and Asian cooking techniques from his relatives – is serving up his traditional culinary skills to the Harford County community.
- Spice up your homemade meals with help from Cinnamon Tree Organics . This woman-owned small business takes inspiration from growing up in Sri Lanka, with vibrant colors and plenty of aroma provided in each product.
- Named “Best Thai Restaurant” by Baltimore Magazine, Bodhi is a family-owned restaurant with two locations in Baltimore City. Both Hampden and Federal Hill sites offer an authentic experience with curry, fried rice, and noodle options.
- Cazbar calls itself “Maryland’s finest Turkish cuisine,” with parties, catering, bellydancing, and more. The Howard County taverna also provides semi-private rooms and group menus for those looking to celebrate in style.
Learn about local business leaders
Our diverse business community has leaders across the board—from real estate to life sciences to nonprofit organizations. Here are a few to check out.
- The Greencourt Innovation Center provides workspaces for biotech labs and other innovative companies in North Bethesda. The facility was founded by Stephany Yu, an entrepreneur and co-founder of Sunwater Capital, after developing more than 40 million square-feet of residential, commercial, and retail property in the U.S. and China.
- Interested in table tennis? Look no further than Sport Squad, a Rockville company started by Richard Lee, who earned a spot on the junior-level U.S. national team and competed in overseas tournaments.
- Mana Polynesia is a Pacific Island entertainment company in Columbia that performs around the Maryland/D.C./Virginia region. In addition to promoting its culture through dance and music, the company also sells handmade items on its Etsy shop .
- Ting Shih, CEO and founder of ClickMedix , built the idea for her business in an MIT classroom and has since taken the company global. Ting is currently responsible for the design and deployment of the company’s health technology software for health services organizations.
- The Korean-American Professionals in Life Sciences (KAPAL) says locating its nonprofit in Maryland was “a natural conclusion.” Its work has boosted local life sciences businesses and aims to save the lives of Marylanders as innovations enter into new markets.
- From growing up in India to owning a company in Maryland, Dr. Rajan Natarajan was named Small Business Person of the Year at the 2022 SBA Awards. Natarajan even told The Daily Record last year that Maryland “is a good place to be in business ” due to its opportunities and assistance for small businesses.
- As the CEO and founder of HSR.Health , Ajay K. Gupta has 20+ years in cybersecurity and information technology. Ajay is leading HSR.Health to develop an early warning and response platform for handling potential future pandemics.
Grow your AAPI business
Looking to form a business in Maryland, or already operating your own? Learn about the following resources to help you succeed.
- The Maryland Business Express has everything you need to start a business, and the Maryland Department of Commerce has a number of resources for those exploring financial assistance, seeking workforce programs, and more.
- Maryland’s Office of Small, Minority, and Women Business Affairs connects the small business community to greater economic opportunities, while implementing and monitoring procurement programs across 70 state agencies.
- The Governor’s Commission on South Asian American Affairs and Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs , housed under the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives, continue to hold quarterly meetings with representatives from Maryland’s Asian community.
- The Asian American Chamber of Commerce (AACC) works to improve economic development for AAPI-owned businesses throughout the Maryland/D.C./Virginia region, with opportunities for networking, mentorships, volunteer opportunities, and more.
- The Maryland Small Business Development Center has helped businesses thrive since 1988, with locations in each of the state’s regions.
- The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), under the U.S. Department of Commerce, has an office in Baltimore to assist minority business enterprises.
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