Reflections on the USPAACC 2019 Annual Conference

By Namita Mankad

United States Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce’s (USPAACC) 2019 Annual Conference was held in Houston, Texas from June 5th–7th and brought together minority-owned business owners from across the country. I attended on behalf of my start-up company, PodTechs, and was able to meet business owners and better understand their interest and involvement in podcasting. 

Over the course of the conference there were ample opportunities for businesses to network. It was easy to engage with corporate and government personnel during happy hours and over dinner. The conference focused on innovation and several large corporations discussed the challenge of continuous innovation. 

I will surely attend the conference next year and I admire the mentorship and effort by USPAACC management to help minority businesses reach their full potential.

Focusing on Education and Mentorship

I admire that USPAACC staff takes a personal interest in introducing small businesses  to large businesses, organizations, and governments. The participants at this conference mostly focused on selling to corporations and government. One-on-One networking meetings took place between government representatives and corporation leaders. In the future, I would love to see USPAACC organize workshops, seminars, and educational events for aspiring entrepreneurs. 

A Case for Podcasting 

Throughout the conference small business representatives often discussed hot topics like artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, analytics, and cybersecurity. But I was also surprised that almost all of the conference attendees recognized the marketing and communication opportunity that podcasting can provide. It makes sense, given that podcasting is currently the fastest growing form of media in the country.  

At Podtechs, we believe now is the right time for small-to-midsize businesses and organizations to begin podcasting to help establish their brands, to garner customer loyalty, and to market to potential customers. And the proof is in the pudding– podcasting is now mainstream! They have been proven to help add advertising to businesses regardless of size and industry.

Incorporating Podcasting into Future Conference Marketing

The conference was mainly advertised by word-of-mouth and by via email to USPAACC members. In the future, I’d love to see USPAACC create a mini-podcast series with ‘Platinum and Gold Sponsors’ and publish the series a few weeks before the conference to generate more interest. USPAACC can even offer podcast and social media marketing in the sponsorship packages throughout the conference. Podcast marketing on the right channels may even help attract a younger generation of innovators and entrepreneurs to future events!

A Spotlight on Notable Panel Discussions and Pitches

This year there were great panel discussions and events. Below are brief recaps of three of my personal favorites. Having a podcasting capability at the conference to record real-time testimonials would have been a nice value-add to the companies and USPAACC. 

Industry Builders (i-Builders) Marketplace Lunch

The panel was moderated by TIG Vice President of International Development and Business Operations, Ying McGuire. Rajeev Sharma from Nova IQ and AJ Johri from Cura IQ gave some good insights into the innovation of business. 

What's Your Pitch: Innovation Meets the Market - Final Round

From the 20 companies that competed on June 4th, the final five companies with innovative ideas made it to the final round. The business pitches were professional with a question and answer session and a judging panel. 

C-Suite Executives Academy: Talent Management: War on Talents

This interactive panel was presented by Dr. Marcella Mccurdy and was very informative and even provoked an interesting conversation. During this session we discussed ideas for hiring potential candidates and retaining talent within an organization.