State Chamber, AACCNJ to work together to address economic inequities facing Black-owned businesses

The African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce have signed a memorandum of understanding that sets a framework for the two organizations to work together to address the economic inequities that exist for Black citizens and Black business owners in New Jersey.

The two organizations will focus their efforts chiefly on creating and enhancing education, entrepreneurship and employment opportunities.

In the memorandum, the two chambers define specific and measurable actions they will take together to achieve their goal. They include:

  • Secure the commitment of businesses across New Jersey to increase economic opportunity for Black-owned businesses and Black citizens, and to participate in the various programs created to achieve this goal. Businesses that participate will be asked to establish a set of diversity- and inclusion-related goals and report progress;
  • Increase the number of Black business executives serving on boards of directors for the participating companies;
  • Increase the number of Black business and community leaders serving on the NJCC’s board of directors;
  • Identify contract, investment, mentoring, employment and recruitment opportunities for Black-owned businesses;
  • Create good corporate citizenship programs that will positively impact the social and economic standing of Blacks in New Jersey.

John Harmon, president and founder of the African American Chamber of Commerce, said the reach of both groups extends across the state, making the partnership beneficial to all.

“Now is the time to use that reach to bring together the hundreds of our member companies, the Murphy administration, state legislative leaders and community leaders into a partnership that will break open the doors of economic opportunity to those to whom these doors have been closed for too long,” he said. “This initiative is the appropriate vehicle to improve the competitiveness in our state, it is time.”

State Chamber CEO Tom Bracken agreed.

“For New Jersey to completely achieve its economic potential, we must leverage the many assets offered by Black-owned businesses and cultivate the talents of those in the Black community,” he said. “This initiative is long overdue and it is the right thing to do to make New Jersey a better place to live and work.

“We look forward to this dynamic partnership and we welcome businesses and other organizations from across the state to join and work with us to accomplish our goal.”