AAMBP highlights Austin’s immigrant entrepreneurs during Welcoming Week

Published 5:41 pm Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The Austin Area Minority Business Project (AAMBP) spent Welcoming Week (Sept. 10-19) hosting events highlighting local immigrant-owned businesses.

On Tuesday, Sept. 14, AAMBP, in partnership with the Austin Human Rights Commission, led a business bike tour to four local minority-owned businesses: Loikaw21, Novedades Cristal, Sara G’s Beauty Supply & African Market, and Maya Taqueria. Each business owner showed great passion for their business and welcomed the tour participants, providing attendees with a unique experience in sampling different products and learning about the heart and drive that goes into their mission and the products sold.

After the tour, attendees expressed great appreciation for this experience.

“I was very impressed to learn about the variety of businesses in Austin owned by locals of diverse backgrounds,” said Sarv Mithaqiyan, a resident of Austin who works at Riverland Community College. “It’s inspiring to see how such individuals have overcome obstacles to start their businesses. Now they’re able to support their families, the community and more. Such businesses add to the unity in diversity in a small town of about 25,000, which is hard to come by. Such a reality can attract more people from other countries to make Austin their home, become part of the community, and contribute to its vitality, energy, and growth.” 

Austin City Councilman Jeff Austin also found the bike tour very informative and told AAMBP he enjoyed trying new things like sweet sticky rice and learning about each owner’s story and how hardworking they are.

AAMBP also held a business panel event at the brand-new Launch MN coworking space in downtown. The business panel was moderated by the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation’s Prosperity Initiative proponent Pam Bishop. The owners of Gentlemen’s Fade Barbershop, Molina Business Solutions, Mixto Fresh, and the Karen Asian Grocery Store participated in the panel and shared their journey to becoming Austin business owners, including challenges and successes along the way, and inviting all community members to patronize their businesses.

Vietnamese Top Noodle, owned by Sam V. Nguyen and family, was named AAMBP’s 2021 Immigrant-Owned Business of the Year. Development Corporation of Austin Executive Director John Garry and Maylary Apolo, legal assistant at the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, presented the award to Nguyen on Friday, Sept. 17.