HISTORY OF THE COMMUNITY
Over the last 60 years the South Asian American business community has continued to define itself in the State of Illinois. Our story is unlike any other. Our values and commitments to family and community have fueled our success, and brought growth and innovation to Illinois.
As a business community our success over the past 60 years has not only been in the traditional areas of medicine, information technology or engineering, but also within retail, food & beverage and the hospitality industries. Today, many of our South Asian Business owners are either single store operators or multi-unit conglomerates.
According to the South Asian American Policy Research Institute (SAAPRI), there are over 242,000
South Asian Americans in the State of Illinois, including people of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, Nepali, and Bhutanese descent. Since 2000, the South Asian population has grown by over 55% in Illinois.
The South Asian business community has also grown over the years and the Chamber’s priority is to identify those businesses and foster their growth.
THE GROWING NEED FOR A CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
As the South Asian business community has grown and developed over the years, the community has lacked a steady support system and a strong advocate to address the specific needs of the South Asian business community. Furthermore, there has not been an organization to lead and implement broad based investments to foster growth.
Most recently, the pandemic of 2020 has highlighted the need for a strong organization to not only advocate, but more importantly, provide support when navigating through federal or local programs and resources available to help businesses.