Home Wisconsin Inaugural Hmong economic development conference set for September

Inaugural Hmong economic development conference set for September


HMong American Leadership & Economic Development (HALED) of Eau Claire today announce a first-in-the-nation conference and summit on HMong American economic advancement, set for Sept. 14-16, 2022 at Pablo Center at the Confluence in downtown Eau Claire. 

The HMong Economic Advancement, Research, and Equity (HERE) Conference will be a two-day hybrid conference and one-day summit offering entrepreneurs, business professionals and policymakers the opportunity to explore strategies to  build wealth equity for HMong and other entrepreneurs from various ethnicities.  

“More than 45 years after the first Hmong refugees came to America, second- and third-generation  HMong Americans still face obstacles to building their social and economic capital,” HERE Conference chair and founder and president and CEO of HALED Mai Xiong said in a statement. “The 2022 HERE Conference and Summit is an inclusive, imaginative effort to provide ethnic entrepreneurs and policymakers alike with resources, networking opportunities, and research insights to help this community thrive.”  

According to a press release, conference attendees “will benefit from impactful programming while networking with industry leaders, connecting with mentors, and receiving free business consultations.”

A Sept. 14 banquet, “Igniting Your  Potential Through Local Support,” and a Sept. 15 “Little Mekong Night Market” in Phoenix Park  emulating the feel of a Southeast Asian outdoor market, will add unique experiential elements to the  conference. 

HMong people living in Laos and Vietnam assisted the United States in the Vietnam War but faced  retaliation following the war’s conclusion. Beginning in 1975, thousands of HMong refugees resettled in  the U.S. According to Pew Research and U.S. Census data, the U.S. is now home to more than 325,000  Hmong Americans, with the greatest populations living in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and California. 

Xiong, who also serves as vice chair the Wisconsin Governor’s Council on Equity and Inclusion, has engaged statewide organizations and national partners to develop the HERE Conference’s broad and inclusive offerings, according to a press release. Keynote speakers will include members of the state and federal government with expertise on  advancing ethnic and rural populations, with more details being announced in the coming months. 

Organizers aim to bring 300-500 conference attendees to Eau Claire. Early registration runs now through June 30. More information on the conference is available on HALED’s website or and the HERE Conference event on Facebook