by Marion Reinson, To the Point Consulting and
Member of the Einstein’s Alley Advisory Council

On December 9th there was a wonderful celebration of New Jersey immigrant entrepreneurs…This event was born out of the desire to demonstrate that even in the midst of a politically polarizing debate on immigration, we can all celebrate the contributions immigrants make to our communities here in the state of New Jersey.

I also learned a few facts.

  1. 2014 Celebrates the 350th anniversary of New Jersey’s founding as an English colony in 1664.
  2. NJ ranks third in the nation in the percentage of immigrants to total population.
  3. New Jersey’s immigrant entrepreneurs were responsible for the invention of the transistor, the modern brassiere, the submarine, Vitamin C, game theory, the chemical synthesis of penicillin and instant coffee.
  4. Lipton Tea, Welch’s Grape Juice, Ballantine beer, and Colgate-Palmolive were founded by immigrant entrepreneurs who chose New Jersey for their homes and places of business.
  5. Many of the state’s largest employers were founded by immigrants, or children of immigrants: including Honeywell, Merck, Cognizant Technology Solutions, and Goya Foods. Together, these four companies employ 375,000 people and generate almost $92.4 billion in revenue per year.
  6. You can read more about the event in this article published in the Paramus Post. Also the Princeton Public Library will be launching a series on Immigration starting January 21st.

    It was my first time at this event (in its 2nd year) and I will make it a point to attend each year and to share this experience with as many of my friends and colleagues as possible. Unless you are of Native American descent, we are all immigrant descendants (or first generation) – a fact worth honoring and celebrating.