Waiting for a miracle to happen will get you nowhere. If there’s anything that people can learn from entrepreneurs like Chicken & Rice Guys Founder Ian So, it is to just build the things that don’t exist yet especially if they’ll serve a meaningful purpose. Time doing nothing is a wasted opportunity to start something.

For the last 10 years, Ian has been managing his food truck and restaurant business that sells Middle Eastern food that’s already loved by many. Though, he felt like he’s meant to do more--to provide service that’s beyond good food. At an early age, he’s already involved in community work that honed his drive for making a difference. It doesn’t matter how small it may seem to some, what matters for him is that he has taken the difficult, first step.

Ian recently received a grant from the California Asian Chamber of Commerce to start Node which is a non-profit, providing platform for Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) to connect online. Its Facebook group now has around 500 members who come from different non-profits themselves and other businesses. The idea behind this project is to utilize social media to help people do good. One of his inspirations is the Asian Hustle Network that currently boasts more than 70,000 members. In this time of distance, Ian wants to inspire, promote, and give access to useful resources for AAPIs online. He has always wanted to build an avenue where they are heard and valued.

When Ian was in high school, he started an Asian Club when it dawned on him that there are other clubs catering to different races but none for Asians. It is evident that he still has the same passion. With Node, he envisions an empowering digital space where AAPIs get introduced to grants, sponsorships, and the like so they’ll have the opportunity to pursue their respective interests. This is gradually coming to life as he partners with different individuals and organizations. Node would also be a platform to dialogue, address important issues in the community, and recommend or hold purposeful events.

There is a lot to look forward to in Node as Ian consistently encourages its members to pursue what they’re most passionate about. “Helping other people is what makes me most happy,” he shares. He certainly wants the same for other AAPIs--to find their own purpose. If not, to simply be happy in whatever they do. Node is preparing a couple of free webinars and ramping up its efforts to invite more non-profits. The vision that Node wants to achieve is to enable more AAPIs to become leaders in their respective organizations in order to come up with inclusive processes designed for the community. Data shows that there’s only a small percentage of Asian leaders and grants given to Asian causes. “We need to change that,” Ian says.

In a realm that currently dwells under a dim light, Node wants to share more good news to make people smile not because they’ve become temporarily happy but because they feel the world has started to hear them out. Taking the first step doesn’t need to be a big leap, it can only be a steadying breath as you click ‘join group’.

Jul 10, 2021

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