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Heritage Link Brands and the National Black Chamber of Commerce Collaborate to Deepen Global Business Opportunities Among United States, Africa and its Diaspora

Heritage Link Brands, LLC and the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) today announced a joint effort encouraging U.S. black businesses to explore partnership opportunities with fellow enterprises in Africa and its Diaspora. Heritage Link Brands is the largest company in North America dedicated to importing and distributing wine produced by indigenous Africans and people of African descent throughout the world.

Selena Cuffe, President and CEO of Heritage Link Brands, LLC, and Harry C. Alford, NBCC’s President and CEO, agree that the premise for such pan African partnerships is simple, with numbers that speak for themselves:
· U.S. businesses – including black businesses – are struggling in this Great Recession, with US GDP down by 4% in 2009, while according to the Boston Consulting Group, Africa grew GDP by 2% in the same period.
· During 2010 Africa’s economy will grow by 4.8%, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). This is the highest rate of growth in the world outside of Asia, higher than the oft-cited economies of Brazil, Russia, Mexico, and Eastern Europe.
· Foreign investment in Africa has grown from $9 billion in 2000 to $62 billion in 2008— a higher rate of return than any other developing region in the world, according to McKinsey & Co.

NBCC aims to help black-owned firms leverage Africa’s current and future growth to optimize their place in the economic mainstream, including identifying partnerships that will encourage their long-term success. “What we have here is a golden opportunity with the power to foster lucrative, win-win relationships for black businesses domestically and abroad,” says Alford. “We are encouraging NBCC’s membership to evaluate their value chain and identify growth areas that are ripe for global partnerships. And we are thankful that Ms. Cuffe stands ready to mentor her peers by showcasing the cornerstones of Heritage Link Brands’ business success in Africa, particularly South Africa.”

“As we establish ourselves as the preeminent brand powerhouse and service provider linking the African continent to the western world, Heritage Link Brands is honored to work with other organizations across the globe to achieve mutual business goals,” Cuffe shares. “Heritage Link’s future initiatives include a greater investment in marketing to the upwardly mobile of Africa and its Diaspora, including “Black Diamonds” – the rapidly growing middle class that is driving the fast paced growth of the South African economy. Not only will we do this within our flagship wine category, but also in other exciting categories coming to market. Similarly, fellow NBCC members can pursue deepening their current offerings, or testing new products and services, given urbanization, an expanding labor force, and the rise of the middle-class African consumer.”

In order to facilitate the forging of these pan African business opportunities, Heritage Link Brands and NBCC are planning trade missions to South Africa and Ghana in early 2011. The goal is to provide businesses – from established corporations to emerging entrepreneurs – with firsthand exposure to the burgeoning opportunities in these countries.

About Heritage Link Brands, LLC
Heritage Link Brands is the largest company in North America dedicated to importing and distributing wine produced by indigenous Africans and people of African descent throughout the world. Its portfolio of wines, which includes award-winning brands like Seven Sisters and M’hudi, is available online, and in over 40 states across 1,000 retailers and restaurants. Loyal customers include household names like American Airlines, Disney, and 1.800.Flowers.com . For more information, to learn about upcoming events and to purchase wines, visit www.heritagelinkbrands.com .

About the National Black Chamber of Commerce
The National Black Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to economically empowering and sustaining African American communities through entrepreneurship and capitalistic activity within the United States and via interaction with the Black Diaspora. This business association represents 95,000 Black owned businesses and provides advocacy that reaches all 1 million Black owned businesses.

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