Empowering New York’s Asian American Community Since 1989

Asian American Federation Launches Union Street Small Business Assistance Program

New York City: Yesterday morning, the Asian American Federation announced the launch of our new program to support Asian-owned small businesses in Flushing. The Union Street Small Business Assistance Program, a two-year initiative funded by the New York City Economic Development Corporation, will work closely with approximately 200 Union Street merchants to revitalize their business fronts, help promote their businesses using media outlets and online platforms, and improve access to the business district through restoration and beautification efforts.

Led by the Federation, the Union Street program will work in collaboration with the Union Street Business Association and Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York to outreach to local business owners and community members to address the most critical needs of Union Street shop owners and customers. We will also partner with Flushing BID to help with restoration and beautification projects in order to make Union Street a popular shopping destination once again.

The Union Street program will open its office on Union Street later this summer and will be run by three program staff under the leadership of the Federation’s executive director. Recruitment for program staff will begin on August 1, and job descriptions will be posted on the Federation’s website at the end of July (www.aafederation.org).

Jo-Ann Yoo, executive director of the Federation, said, “Based on our NYC’s Economic Engine report from last year and close working relationship with the Union Street Business Association, we know that business owners from our community are vital contributors to the city’s economy but struggle on a daily basis with addressing issues like fines and limited parking because they don’t have the language skills and informational know-how to go to the city for help. The Union Street program is the city’s first, much-needed investment in our community to bridge these service gaps and help our community succeed in the long-term.”

Speaking at the press event, Council Member Peter Koo stated, “The long-term impact of multi-year construction projects can be devastating to small business owners. That’s why it’s so important for the city to do everything in its power to ensure that projects that are intended to revitalize and improve neighborhoods aren’t accidentally harming the businesses that helped make the area attractive in the first place. The Union Street Small Business Assistance Program seeks to funnel needed investments into this crucial sector of our community, and I am excited to work with the Asian American Federation to make sure our Union Street businesses get the attention they deserve.”

Similarly, Congresswoman Grace Meng said, “The Union Street Small Business Assistance Program will provide needed funding to assist small businesses on Union Street, and the initiative will go a long way towards helping these entrepreneurs with important services. Small businesses are the economic engine of our region’s economy and the prosperity of our community, borough, and city are dependent on their success. We must do all we can to support them.”

Senator Toby Ann Stavisky also said, “Flushing continues to be a hub for small business, and the Union Street Small Business Assistance Program will further the community’s reputation as an incubator for entrepreneurs. I would like to thank the city’s Economic Development Corporation for recognizing a need in the Asian-owned business community as well as the Asian American Federation for advocating on behalf of these small businesses.”

The Asian American Federation works to raise the influence and well-being of the pan-Asian American community through research, policy advocacy, public awareness, and organizational development. Established in 1989, AAF supports over 40 Asian American community service agencies, which work to meet the critical needs of the fastest-growing population in New York City. For more information, please visit www.aafederation.org.

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