Governor Phil Murphy celebrates Black Businesses and Juneteenth with the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey
At a Juneteenth celebration last week in Montclair, New Jersey, Gov Phil Murphy praised and acknowledged the efforts of the nationally recognized African American Chamber of New Jersey (AACCNJ) on its never-ending efforts to increase the number of Black and Brown businesses across the Garden State.
Murphy was the keynote speaker at the Black Business Expo/Juneteenth celebration on Thursday at the campus of Montclair State University. The day-long event was hosted by the AACCNJ and offered a series of small business and informational workshops and networking sessions, including some that recognized Juneteenth.
Murphy said systemic racism, discrimination, and the lack of access to financial resources have historically impeded the rapid growth of minority and women-owned business enterprises (M/WBEs). “Black-owned businesses start with signifcantly less capital than their white counterparts and have a harder time getting investors and loans,” he said. Murphy added that despite the enormous challenges, MWBEs–entrepreneurs in New Jersey have stormed back and made the state one of the best places to start, grow, and succeed in a business. The governors’ accolades come on the heels of a new report that ranked New Jersey as one of the top 5 states in the nation for M/WBEs to launch a business.
The rankings are determined by analyzing many factors, including minority-owned businesses, job growth, unemployment, and the number and amount of business loans. For example, in New Jersey, minorities own about one-quarter (24.6 percent) of all businesses, and about one-third (31 percent of all startups are less than two years old. Additionally, the state distributes more business loans to underserved communities–about ($400 per capita) compared to the national average –about ($350 per capita.)
Various initiatives designed to foster MWBE growth in the state have been and continue to be implemented by the Murphy Administration. They include the $20 million Diverse Developers Fund, The $20 million Black and Latino Seed Fund, and a Cannabis initiative that mandates that 30 percent of all recreational state cannabis licenses are awarded to MWBEs–with 70 percent of sales tax revenues being invested in urban communities.
Lastly, John Harmon, president and CEO of the AACCNJ said, “Governor Murphy has been a vocal and supportive ally for the Chamber in achieving and maintaining an equal and level playing field for minority owned businesses in the state.”