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22/10/2014: Filipino-American Chambers of Commerce Partnership with the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders on Capacity Building

PHILADELPHIA, PA, October 21, 2014: The Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey (PACC-PASNJ) is pleased to announce its Capacity Building partnership with the White House Initiative on Asian American and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI). As one of five projects selected as part of WHIAAPI’s Challenge.gov program to help improve the quality of life for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs), it is the only project focused on the Filipino- American community. The partnership with WHIAAPI will last one year with an organizing committee which includes representatives from Washington, DC, Atlanta, GA, New York, NY, and California.

The purpose of this project is “to strengthen and increase the visibility of Filipino-American businesses in America and abroad,” explains Brad Baldia, the President of PACC-PASNJ and project Co- chair. “This is an opportunity to connect with the Filipino-American business community to share resources, discuss best practices, and ultimately provide the resources and tools to help business owners and professionals succeed,” adds RJ Diokno, the Vice President of the Washington, DC PACC. A business boot camp will take place during the summer of 2015 which will bring Filipino-American business leaders from around the country to share ways in which this community segment can be better served and better prepared to excel.

Philippine Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr, ambassador to the US, welcomed the project saying this will help raise the visibility of Filipino-American businesses in the US. “I am pleased that one of the five proposals accepted, out of the hundreds of proposal submitted, is this project,” Ambassador Cuisia said. “I look forward to working with Philippine-American Chambers of Commerce and our Consulates in promoting this project”, he said. “This comes at the right time when the Embassy is also in the process of institutionalizing a Fil-Am business registry. This collaboration would neatly tie our efforts together.”

The Philippine Consulate General in New York is firmly supportive of the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce’s initiatives and activities that help identify and enhance investment and business opportunities in the Philippines for US companies. “One of our mandates in the Philippine Foreign Service is to promote economic diplomacy,” says Consul General Mario De Leon. “In carrying out our mission, we partner with PACC in its activities that will increase the awareness of the business community in Pennsylvania and South New Jersey about the Philippines,” he further explains.

The first objective of this project is to assess the needs of Filipino-American Chambers and entrepreneurs. This information will be used as input into developing the business boot camp. “We’re conducting a survey in the next month and we hope to leverage our partnership with WHIAAPI to get our business community on board to be a part of this incredible opportunity,” says Bryan Ramos, President of the PACC in Atlanta, GA. After the assessment has been completed, the next step will be

to identify sponsors and those individuals who would like to play a larger role in the development of this project. “Our vision is that this is just the beginning and that this partnership with WHIAAPI will open new doors to Filipino-American entrepreneurs and professionals and inspire the next generation of business leaders to be involved in the community,” explains Baldia.

The organizing committee is continuing to reach out to leaders of various Filipino-American Chambers of Commerce and business owners to complete the assessment survey. For Filipino- American Chambers of Commerce and Filipino-American-owned businesses that are interested in participating in the survey to be completed by Friday, November 14th, please go directly to the survey at: http://goo.gl/forms/4jz7OtQmoH or contact Brad Baldia at the following email address: baldiab@gmail.com.