HawaiiUSA FCU partners in event to help small business owners in Chinatown

on "April 29, 2020 4:14 pm"

Small “mom-and-pop” businesses in Chinatown have been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since January 2020, media coverage of the global pandemic caused many Honolulu shoppers to avoid Chinatown restaurants and small businesses.

Compounding the problem, many Chinatown business owners are not English speaking, which makes navigating the financial aid process a daunting task.

Draft Chinatown Flyer2 4 25 20

A training session in collaboration with City Councilmember Carol Fukunaga, Congressman Ed Case , and the state DBEDT (Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism) was held to assist Chinatown merchants. HawaiiUSA FCU, with its main branch located near Chinatown, served as the training site. The credit union’s staff also provided assistance to participants.

On Saturday, April 25, the Small Business Assistance Training Session was held at HawaiiUSA FCU’s Community Room.  The credit union’s staff arranged the breakout rooms to comply with social distancing rules. Copies of the instructions and special documents needed for the SBA assistance programs were translated by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and made available to participants.  Many small business owners work on Saturday, so the training session was opened to their accountants and Chinese community organization representatives. These community organizations helped distribute over 125 applications to businesses, focusing on those at Oahu/Kekaulike Markets, Maunakea Marketplace, and Chinatown Cultural Plaza.  Councilwoman Fukunaga provided questionnaires for Chinatown businesses to identify the need for cash relief from rents and operating costs.

U.S. Congressman Ed Case and his staff joined in helping Chinatown/Chinese community small businesses qualify for federal financial assistance. Other organizations that volunteered included the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Maunakea Marketplace, Taiwan Economic & Cultural Office management, Pacific Gateway Center, and United Chinese Society. Representatives of SBA and DBEDT were on hand to assist participants.

 gwen yamamoto lau teaching

Gwen Yamamoto-Lau, Executive Director of the Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority within the Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (pictured above) and Jane Sawyer of Small Business Administration practice social distancing while addressing participants.

SBA Jane Sawyer

gwen yamamoto lau  The tables were wiped down after each use.

taped off floor The floor was marked with tape to keep people 6 feet apart.