Around the world, Asians are finding the entrepreneurial spirit. They are founding many companies, organizations, and projects. Yet, the road to entrepreneurship is not easy, and one that holds many barriers and obstacles. In particular, Asian entrepreneurs face several unique challenges. Here’s how to avoid them:
Most Asian American families are recent immigrants. Often, from backgrounds of hardship and sacrifice. The story of immigrant hardship and the desire for a better future shapes priorities. This common narrative leads young Asian Americans to avoid risk and find a stable, well-paying job. Unfortunately, the risk avoidance limits opportunities for young Asian American professionals. Opportunities such as taking jobs at startups or founding them disappear. Often, Asian Americans even avoid taking risks in the workplace. This makes it more difficult for Asians to earn leadership positions and thus hampers entrepreneurship initiatives.
But to succeed in the world of business, we must take risks. Despite the immigrant roots and desire for stability, Asians must overcome risk aversion. That is how you find success. But don’t worry if this seems daunting. There are always opportunities available for young Asian American professionals seeking advice. Whether it’s general career guidance or industry specific, there is always help available.
Build a Network
Compared to their peers, Asians tend to spend less time and effort building strong professional networks. This practice impairs their ability to develop meaningful connections. Professional connections unlock unique opportunities and support structures in the future. Without them, progressing within a career is more difficult. Thus, a strong professional network is crucial for proper career building. Particularly, it is essential when pursuing the path of entrepreneurship. In response to the lack of networking, many professional development programs are available. They help Asians network and develop soft skills they lack. They also provide career advice and help the young professionals reach out to others and find opportunities.
Self-Promotion and Advocacy
This piece of advice is widely applicable to any type of entrepreneur. However, it is particularly applicable to Asian entrepreneurs. In Venture Capital firms, Asians only make up 20% of Senior Investment teams while comprising 32% of Junior Investment teams. This disparity has led to an underrepresentation of Asian startups finding funding. Also further compounded by gender bias, Asian women find even more difficulty. Thus, strong advocacy and self-promotion is necessary to find entrepreneurial success.
To combat this issue, entrepreneurs must learn to self-promote and advocate for themselves. To help others, it is also imperative to advocate for their companies and peers. But, doing so requires excellent speaking and soft skills. Not to fear, these skills can all be trained and taught through professional development programs.
While entrepreneurship is certainly not easy, these three strategies will empower Asian entrepreneurs to build strong startups and companies. As Asian American entrepreneurs continue to grow, overcoming these barriers is essential for success.