ABIRC’s mission is to support and promote strong networks of Asian business owners in the Central California region.
The essence of ABIRC as an organization whose mission was to assist Asian business owners began in 2008 through a series of community meetings funded by Citibank and Wells Fargo. Topics of interest for the Asian community included access to resources, business and financial plans, marketing assistance, non-traditional loans, workshops conducted in various languages, networking, advocacy for small businesses, certifications for various contractual opportunities, and other means of building capacity within the Asian business community.
By March of 2009, ABIRC was launched as a non-profit with backing from Wells Fargo. The original mission statement for ABIRC was “to provide assistance to Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) throughout the State of California in obtaining nationally recognized supplier certification, and build sustainable communities by developing opportunities with financing resources and corporate, healthcare, government and educational entities interested in supplier diversity.” One of the earliest events the first Board of Directors chose to participate in was the First Annual Small Business Development Day, sponsored by the City of Fresno and various community partners. With over 230 small businesses in attendance, participants had the opportunity to attend a variety of workshops spanning a wide range of topics.
Leadership within the Organization
Leadership within the company consists of three members of the Board of Directors. The members of the Board of Directors are chosen by their previous experiences in Fresno County.
For the complete list of the Board of Directors, click here.
As of December 2022, the ABIRC staff consists of ten individuals, who hold a wide array of knowledge and are under the leadership of the Deputy Director (Vila), and Program Consultant (Lue).
For the complete list of the staff, please click here.
Become a Sponsor
As a non-profit organization, the Asian Business Institute and Resource Center relies on grants from the state and donations from the community. Without grants and donations, ABIRC would not be able to support the Southeast Asian community.
If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, click here.
Since its startup, ABIRC has provided essential networking for the Southeast Asian Community through programs such as the first Hmong Cohort in the Central Valley, fundraisers for local schools, and partnerships with local non-profit organizations. Our work has extended throughout ten counties—Fresno, Butte, Madera, Merced, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tulare, and Yuba County.
In 2020, many farmers and businesses experienced devastating losses, in terms of business and revenue, due to market shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. ABIRC played a major role in uplifting these farmers and businesses by providing resources and working to help them apply for grants and loans. From May 0f 2020 to December of 2020, we coordinated what was called “The Crop Buyback Program,” in which we purchased crops and produce from farmers. We were able to provide $600,000 for farmers, in total. This effort, as we should mention, would not have been possible without the financial support of the City of Fresno, Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAF), and Office of Kat Taylor.
Furthermore, ABIRC has also provided assistance in helping farmers and businesses apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Economic Disaster Loan (EDL), and California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program (CA-Relief Grant). This involved sitting down with clients, acquiring the necessary documentation, and contacting clients in regards to the status of their application(s). As of June 2021, we have reached $1.85 million in funding. The number is expected to rise as more applications are still being processed and waiting to finalize.
From August of 2021 to December of 2021, ABIRC was able to coordinate weekly “CSA Food Boxes Distribution” events through funding provided by Growing the Table and Office of Kat Taylor. Our work involved packaging fresh and locally grown produce into boxes to feed food insecure families throughout the Central California region. This effort was in collaboration with our partner organizations–Fresno Barridos Unidos, United Farm Workers Foundation, Big Sandy Rancheria and the North For Rancheria of Mono Indians, and Allensworth Progressive Associations–who picked up the packaged food boxes and distributed them to their respective communities.
At around the same time, we also ran what is known as the California Underserved and Small Producers (CUSP) grant program, which aims to help BIPOC farmers recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Our first round of applications ran from August to September of 2021, and, from that, we were able to award several BIPOC farmers with relief funds. Farmers who live in Fresno, CA were able to pick up their checks from our Lao Veterans Office, while those in Merced, CA and Sacramento, CA received a visit from us. We drove to Merced, CA and Sacramento, CA on separate occasions to personally deliver these checks to our grant recipients. From this round of applications, we were able to assist many farmers who thanked us for giving them the chance to obtain relief fund dollars. We are currently in our second round of applications. For more information, please click here.
Furthermore, we also began our Wells Fargo grant program in July of 2021. Through this program, we are able to provide technical assistance to small business owners and help them increase their knowledge of financial resources, bookkeeping, record keeping, and so much more! Ever since the start of the program, we have gone on to host and coordinate over ten workshops and reach a high number of business owners within Fresno, CA. If you need assistance with your business, please visit our office today!