Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Comcast RISE to Award $5 Million in Grants to Small Businesses
New York, NY
Comcast today announced the Comcast RISE Investment Fund, providing $5 million dollars of grants to hundreds of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)-owned, small businesses.
Beginning on March 1 through March 14, eligible businesses in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Houston and Philadelphia specified areas can apply for a $10,000 grant at www.ComcastRISE.com. A total of 100 grants per city, or 500 grants overall, will be awarded in May 2021. The Investment Fund is the latest extension of Comcast RISE, the multi-year, multi-faceted initiative launched in October 2020 that initially focused on black-owned, small businesses and then extended to BIPOC-owned to help those hardest hit by COVID-19.
The Comcast RISE Investment Fund is focused on small businesses who have been in business for 3 or more years with 1-25 employees. Businesses must be in the following geographic locations to be eligible: Atlanta, GA (Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett Counties); Chicago, IL (Cook County including the City of Chicago); Detroit, MI (also including Hamtramck and Highland Park, MI); Houston, TX (Harris and Fort Bend Counties); and Philadelphia, PA (City of Philadelphia and City of Chester.)
The Comcast RISE investments will provide more BIPOC entrepreneurs with the resources and tools they need to scale their businesses and thrive for years to come.
To help drive outreach about the program and provide additional support, training and mentorship, Comcast has also awarded more than $2 million to the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), Operation Hope, Ureeka, U.S. Black Chambers, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, National Asian American Chamber of Commerce and nearly 20 community-based organizations in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Houston and Philadelphia.
“BIPOC entrepreneurs need access to capital along with the training resources and networks that are so critical to success,” said Dalila Wilson-Scott, executive vice president and chief diversity officer, Comcast Corporation and president, Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation. “Through the Comcast RISE Investment Fund, we are investing in BIPOC-owned, small businesses that create jobs and play a vital role in supporting our communities. The Comcast RISE investments will provide more BIPOC entrepreneurs with the resources and tools they need to scale their businesses and thrive for years to come.”
Studies show that BIPOC-owned, small businesses have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic, and recent research by JPMorgan Chase Institute found that Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Houston and Philadelphia were in the top markets for sharp declines in local commerce spending. Additionally, the majority of applications for the Comcast RISE marketing and technology services component are from these five cities.
“The data is clear. Business owners of color are historically disadvantaged when accessing capital. Now more than ever it is important to invest in these small businesses, especially those in markets such as Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Houston and Philadelphia who have seen significant economic impact from the pandemic,” said Connie E. Evans, CEO and president of the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO). “We are excited to be able to partner with Comcast to support the communities in which we both serve. This financial boost from Comcast comes at a pivotal moment as we near a year of businesses altering models, pivoting plans and fighting to stay open.”
In addition to the investment fund, Comcast RISE, which stands for “Representation, Investment, Strength and Empowerment,” provides the opportunity for BIPOC-owned, small businesses nationwide to apply for one or more of the following support focus areas for the opportunity to receive one. Over 700 recipients were announced in November, with the next wave of recipients to be announced in March 2021.
In addition, all eligible applicants will receive a monthly Comcast RISE newsletter with educational content, and all small business owners can visit the Comcast RISE destination on the X1 platform, which features aggregated small business news, tips, insights and more. The destination is designed to help businesses grow by empowering them through inspiration and entertainment. Just say “Comcast RISE” into the X1 voice remote.
Comcast RISE is part of a larger $100 million Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative that Comcast launched last summer. In June, 2020, Comcast NBCUniversal announced the development of a comprehensive, multi-year plan to allocate $75 million in cash and $25 million in media over the next three years to fight injustice and inequality against any race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation or ability.
More information and the applications to apply for either the grant program or the marketing and technology services are available here.