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African American Chamber of NJ holds anniversary celebration

Glenn Townes | 12/15/2017, 6:40 a.m.
Dozens of business leaders were among about 100 people that attended the annual year-end holiday celebration by the African American ...
Don Lowery, senior vice president of corporate reputation for global marketing at The Nielsen Company, was the keynote speaker at the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey’s annual year-end holiday celebration.

Dozens of business leaders were among about 100 people that attended the annual year-end holiday celebration by the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (AACCNJ) recently in Plainsboro. The event featured a top executive from data and information statistical provider The Nielsen Company and lauded the efforts of African American women entrepreneurs.

In a keynote speech, Don Lowery, senior vice president of corporate reputation for the global marketing, data and consumer giant highlighted its 2017 report entitled, African American Women: Our Science, Her Magic. The report was released earlier this year and, among other things, examines how women of color are starting and taking care of business more and perhaps, better than anyone else. Lowery said a key trend highlighted in the report includes the significant increase in the growth of African American entrepreneurship—with a niche focus on African American women.

“More than half of black women agree they are more likely to purchase brands that support a cause they care about,” Lowery said in an interview with South Jersey Journal.com. He added, “Black people are willing to pay extra for a product or service that is consistent with an image they want to convey--this is especially true among higher earning African Americans.” Lowery, a former print journalist and investment banker, is a native of Chicago. He said Nielsen has provided the comprehensive annual report since 2011. He has presented the study to the annual AACCNJ Year-End Reception for the past several years. According to the 2017 study, 24.3 million black women in America—or 14.3 percent of all U.S. women—are boldly making their consumer preferences and brand loyalty known to the mainstream. “Black women represent countless untapped opportunities by marketers,” Lowery said. “They continue to be a powerful and influential consumer base.” To that end, according to the 2015 U.S. Census Survey of Business owners, African American women are the majority owners in more than 1.5 million businesses with about $42 billion in sales. Lowery said these numbers will likely continue to increase with the total number of businesses owned by black women increasing by a whopping 67 percent between 2007 and 2012.

Lastly, John Harmon, founder and President of the AACCNJ said the organization, which celebrated its 10th anniversary, frequently utilizes information and statistical analysis provided by Nielsen to market and promote many of its own initiatives. “We want people to support each other and buy goods and services from people that like us,” he said. Harmon added that despite some modest gains in recent years, overall the African American and New Jersey's mainstream business communities are traveling in different, albeit opposite directions. “Unless there is an intersection, the likelihood of fostering and improving relations {between the two} will be minimal,” he said. He added the AACCNJ will continue to work to bridge the gap between opposing entities. “Our most rewarding advocacy has been our ability to engage traditional African American community organizations and faith-based leaders and talk candidly about the state of the African American community,” he concluded. To obtain the complete 2017 African-American Women: Our Science, Her Magic study from Nielsen, visit the company web site www.nielsen.com.