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57.6 F
San Diego
Tuesday, May 28, 2024

ABA President and CEO Honored

AWARDS: Paguio Named SBA's 2023 Minority Small Business Champion

Jason Paguio has one more accolade to add to his already impressive resume: the San Diego District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration has named the Asian Business Association of San Diego President and CEO the Minority Small Business Champion of the Year.

Jason Paguio
President and CEO
Asian Business Association of San Diego

“The most exciting part of this and something I am very encouraged about is that the SBA would have this award that highlights typically marginalized and underrepresented communities,” Paguio said.

The award came during 2023 Small Business Week. Paguio was nominated for the award by Daniel Fitzgerald, Regional Director of the San Diego & Imperial Small Business Development Center Network (SBDC).

Paguio, president and CEO of the ABASD since 2019, was recognized for his leadership in advocating for Asian American and Pacific Islander small business owners in San Diego County. Under his leadership this past year alone, the ABASD launched several programs and initiatives that continue to help Asian American/Pacific Islander small business owners start, grow and thrive.

Paguio said he was grateful for the recognition by the SBA.

“I am humbled and honored to receive this award,” Paguio said. “It is a testament to the hard work of the Asian Business Association of San Diego team, our board of directors, and our collective commitment to empowering and uplifting our AAPI small businesses as part of the San Diego and Imperial SBDC Network.”

Paguio, who last year was appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs, has been a tireless advocate for policies that promote economic equity in the small business community.

Paguio is also California Office of the Small Business Advocate Director Tara Lynn Gray’s appointee to the Entrepreneurship and Economic Mobility Task Force.

Closer to home, Paguio is also a member of San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria’s Asian Pacific Islander Advisory Group as well as being on the city of San Diego Small Business Advisory Board, Board of Directors for NTC Foundation (Arts District Liberty Station), the city of Coronado Mobility Commission and the boards of the San Diego Community Housing Corporation and LEAD San Diego.

“I know that I’m fortunate to be working with people who get up every day and love doing what they do,” he said. “Doing work that is meaningful, work that is intentional. I think they’re driven strongly by their ‘Why’ and I think that gets presented very strongly in our community. I’m happy to represent what we all have as a share vision so we are able to support the community as best we can.”

He noted that the SBDC Network is very diverse and “that is represented in its network and people who are its business advisors” and said outreach partners “make the work a lot easier for someone like myself to even be nominated or considered for something like this.”

Paguio said the award from the SBA is “an accumulation of the entire team and the work they do every single day” at the ABASD and said the award is representative of the collaboration of groups in the community and its partnerships with other community organizations, including those that are service-based and health-based.

“Typically, we don’t get the resources or receive assistance from the government or other traditional institutions, so highlighting this shows that there’s intentionality from the SBA,” he said. “It’s a thoughtful way to look at our communities of concern.”

He said helping individuals who might be immigrants or new Americans with language barriers and helping them with culturally tailored programs or services is the ABASD’s primary focus.

“We are thrilled to honor Jason Paguio for his outstanding contributions to our local small business community,” said SBA District Director Ruben Garcia. “His dedication and leadership have helped countless AAPI entrepreneurs overcome obstacles and achieve success through culturally responsive technical assistance in our region’s most diverse communities.”

The SBA annually recognizes the hard work and contributions of America’s small businesses during National Small Business Week. The San Diego & Imperial Valley SBDC Network held a Small Business Awards event May 9 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront to honor the local small business owners and advocates, including Paguio.

Other winners of the 2023 SBA Awards for the San Diego & Imperial Counties are:

  • Small Business Person(s) of the Year (Team) – Drew Simpson, Keith Arnold and Ryan Tisinger – Amerivet Contracting
  • Women-Owned Small Business of the Year (Team) – Pacific Ink, Inc., Jaime Mautz and Alex Mautz
  • Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year – Wepa Commercial Cleaning, Francisco Rivera
  • Family-Owned Small Business of the Year – Highland Barber Shop, Raland Camara
  • Rural-Owned Small Business of the Year – Spirit Mountain Roasting Co., Arriquippa (Tudor) Montague
  • Young Entrepreneur of the Year – Charlotte Reininger Smith, Soap by a Chemist
  • Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year – ChargeNet Stations, Venus Jenkins
  • Financial Services Champion of the Year – Miriam Baltys, CDC Small Business Finance
  • Small Business Journalist of the Year – Natallie Rocha, The San Diego Union-Tribune
  • Women in Business Champion – Jaymee Lomax, WBEC-West
  • Women’s Business Center of Excellence Award – San Diego & Imperial Women’s Business Center, Katty Ibarra (San Diego and national winner)
  • Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Award – San Diego & Imperial Small Business Development Center Network, Daniel Fitzgerald (San Diego and Region IX winner)
  • District Director’s Award for SBA Mission Support – Bob Ragland, SCORE San Diego
  • Jill Andrews Award for Staying Power – Aesthetically Pleasing Medical Spa, Inc., Stacy Grissen (20 years in business)
  • Anthony Vigil Small Business Advocacy Award – Danetta Jackson (CA DGS)

Founded in 1990, ABASD represents the interests of more than 30,000 Asian Pacific Islander-owned businesses throughout San Diego County. ABASD believes in building sustainable communities through inclusive economic development and a qualified diverse workforce. For more information, visit


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