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STL partnership recognizes Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

AAPI community essential to St. Louis’ economy

With May being Asian/Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership (STL Partnership) recognizes the important role AAPI-owned businesses play in St. Louis’ economy.

Nationally, AAPI entrepreneurs account for more than 3 million businesses, 5.2 million employees and total revenues of more than $950 billion in 2020, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

STL Partnership is working with the St. Louis Asian American Chamber of Commerce (AACC) to ensure businesses get the support they need. Founded in 2011, the AACC is an organization that connects business leaders in the St. Louis region and promotes business opportunities in East, Southeast and South Asia.

“As Executive Director of the St. Louis Asian American Chamber of Commerce, I witness every day the substantial impact AAPI businesses have on our regional economic landscape,” said Jeff Wade. “Our collective efforts during AAPI Heritage Month underscore the critical role these companies play in fostering a thriving, diverse business environment.”

World Trade Center St. Louis (WTC), the international arm of STL Partnership, has a long history of working with Asian companies. The St. Louis Sister Cities Program is part of the international mission of World Trade Center St. Louis. Asian sister cities connected to St. Louis are Nanjing, China, Wuhan, China, Bogor, Indonesia and Suwa, Japan. 45 years ago, St. Louis became the first American city to have a sister city in the People’s Republic of China, besides Nanjing. The St. Louis-Suwa Sister Cities Committee is also celebrating their 50th anniversary this year.

“Sister Cities International was founded in the aftermath of World War II as a citizen diplomacy movement, on the idea that people who knew each other would be less likely to come into conflict,” said Stella Sheehan, deputy director of the WTC. “Fast forward to the 21st century, and sister city relationships now serve to cut through the noise, highlighting the nature of these special relationships and in many cases a storied, shared history of cultural, business and academic exchanges.”