An Indian-American philanthropist has called for developing mentoring programmes for those in the community who want to be entrepreneurs and start-up or build their own businesses.
Asian-Americans excel in their academic performance, but remain severely underrepresented in leadership positions, entrepreneur-turned philanthropist Frank Islam said on Friday in his address to the NextGen Awards of NaisA Global, which recognised next generation of Asian leaders in the US.
Citing NaisAs statistics, Islam said Asian-Americans account for 25 per cent of Ivy League students and 50 per cent of the Silicon Valley workforce but constitute only two per cent of Fortune 500 CEOs, three per cent of US attorneys, and two per cent of college presidents.
"These discrepancies are disturbing. They can only lead me to conclude that when it comes to acknowledgement and advancement in the workplace Asian-Americans are being bamboozled," he said.
"It's time to end that bamboozling and to give those outstanding Asian-American students and young professionals the assistance they need to break through the bamboo ceiling. One of the best ways that can be done is through the naisA mentoring protegee programme," he said.
"Given my own background and personal experience, I would like to throw one idea into the pot for naisAs consideration. That is that it develop a mentoring programme for Asian- Americans who want to be entrepreneurs and start-up or build their own businesses," Islam said.
He exuded confidence that if naisA developed a mentoring programme focusing on would-be entrepreneurs it would drive that growth much higher.
The NextGen Awards Gala among others highlighted two Youth Leadership Awardees: Kavya Kopparapu, who founded a nonprofit to educate young girls to succeed in the STEM fields, and Hana Mangat, who started the youth-run organization, Sikh Kid 2 Kid, to develop a cultural and religious literacy training programme.
Among other awardees were Sachiko Kuno, founder & chair of Halcyon and President of S&R Foundation; Dr. Wallace Loh, president of the University of Maryland; David Kim, vice president of Government Affairs of Hyundai Motors; Sid Venketesan, Chief IP Counsel GE Digital; and Mei Xu, co- founder & CEO of Chesapeake Bay Candle.
Congratulating awardees, Congressman Jamie Raskin praised the contribution of Asian-Americans in the development of the country.
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