A crowd of people clapping in the audience of a RICE event.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs (RICE) Announces $1 Million Grant by Comcast to Support Black Entrepreneurs

Atlanta, GA

The Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs (RICE), the largest center in the world dedicated to growing, scaling, and developing Black Entrepreneurs, proudly announces a $1 million grant by Comcast NBCUniversal to help advance RICE initiatives aimed at uplifting entrepreneurs in the Atlanta community and beyond.

The grant will help propel the acceleration of Digital RICE, the “Level UP” Speaker Series, and the RICE Data Science Initiative, which together will provide mentorship and resources from renowned industry experts in legal, accounting, marketing, sales strategy, pricing, and HR, to grow the organization’s support of Black entrepreneurs.

According to a report by McKinsey & Co., on average, Black Founders start their businesses with less than one-third of the capital their white counterparts receive and just 4% of Black-owned businesses survive the start-up stage. Meanwhile, 46% of RICE entrepreneurs thrive beyond the startup stage, more than ten times the national average, and have driven $450 million in economic activity in Fulton County, Georgia.


of RICE entrepreneurs thrive beyond the startup stage

“We are thankful to have Comcast NBCUniversal as partners in our mission to reach new heights of impact,” said Jay Bailey, President and CEO of RICE. “This grant will further our programming and reimagine the support we offer Black entrepreneurs by ensuring that they have the tools and opportunities to thrive as business owners.”

Specifically, the $1 million Comcast NBCUniversal grant will support:

  • Digital RICE: A unique AI-powered platform that serves as a resource hub tailored exclusively for Black entrepreneurs to help them navigate business opportunities and challenges. Digital RICE offers convenient access to industry experts, personalized advice, tailored programming, and additional resources at any time and from any location. Launched in April 2023, Digital RICE was accessible exclusively to RICE entrepreneurs; however, the free, online platform will expand availability to all entrepreneurs in Atlanta and beyond by Summer 2024.
  • The "Level UP" Speaker Series: This monthly, in-person, convening redefines traditional symposiums with its dynamic exploration into the minds of global business leaders. The free experiential series is designed to offer entrepreneurs in the Atlanta community an exclusive opportunity to network and hear from the nation's most successful and accomplished industry trailblazers, wealth creators, influencers, and innovators providing invaluable insights through shared stories, trials, and triumphs. The first event will be held at RICE in March 2024.
  • The RICE Data Science Initiative: This effort tackles the discrepancies and opportunity gaps for Black entrepreneurs by originating research and data-driven insights to spotlight challenges and provide solutions that drive economic growth through Black entrepreneurship.

Together, RICE and Comcast NBCUniversal are redefining collaboration and empowerment for entrepreneurs.

“Research shows that Black-owned businesses systemically lack the access to capital, data and resources that are often key determinants of their success,” said Dalila Wilson-Scott, EVP & Chief Diversity Officer, Comcast Corporation and President, Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation.

Through this grant, we’re proud to support RICE in their mission to create more equity in entrepreneurship, which will result in greater economic opportunities and security for Black entrepreneurs.
Dalila Wilson-Scott
EVP & Chief Diversity Officer, Comcast Corporation and President, Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation

Comcast’s grant is a part of Project UP, the company’s $1 billion commitment to connect people to the Internet, advance economic mobility, and open doors for the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, storytellers, and creators.