Togetherness is an important part of what makes the Filipino community continue to thrive. This can be seen in connections with each other, through family and friends, or even in the community building amongst businesses.
On March 23, the Santa Clarita Valley (SCV) Chamber of Commerce launched the Asian Pacific Islander (API) Business Council at the Seafood City located in Santa Clarita. In attendance were various members of the SCV Chamber of Commerce, different business leaders from the area, as well as Jennifer Avancena, the founding chair of the API Business Council, who spoke with attendees.
This new API Business Council for the Santa Clarita Valley, aims to strengthen and provide growth for API owned businesses within the area. This council will work towards identifying and addressing challenges faced by API-owned businesses within the Santa Clarita Valley by deploying resources that will aid their owners.
As a business owner herself, Avancena understands the struggles as well as the community building that happens when running and owning a business. Alongside her husband, she runs a catering company called Calajo Catering, which serves Filipino-inspired cuisine. She declared how she and her husband have been in the hospitality sector for over 20 years, making her qualified to head the business council with her immense experience.
After relaying her own experience that she’s gained through running her business, she additionally praised the SCV Chamber for the help they’ve given her throughout. “I can’t really thank the Chamber enough for all that they’ve done for our business. They’ve really helped us in our business, credibility, reputation, and our network,” she expressed, encouraging other business owners to build a connection with the Chamber as well.
The SCV Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1923 and is the largest business membership organization in the Santa Clarita Valley. They advocate, educate, and connect the business community within the area, making it a great way to help foster a growing business. The formation of the API Business Council is a way for the Chamber to focus specifically on the representation of Asians in the community, which Avancena explained to attendees.
Avancena had noticed how there was representation for various ethnic groups and their businesses within the area, so she wanted to take that similar step forward for the API community.
“If you don’t know, Asians are the third largest demographic here in Santa Clarita,” she expressed.
She added, “My point in doing this (creating the API Council) is what we’re doing now, getting to know each other,” emphasizing how her communication with the audience is already a form of connecting with one another, regardless if it is business related or not.
She highlighted how through this newly-formed council, she wants connect with the Asian entrepreneurs and business leaders in the community to provide support to them. In getting to know the Santa Clarita Valley Asian community and their businesses, the council aims to address the unique needs of the community in the area as well as what makes API businesses different from other businesses as a whole.