What’s good for women business owners and entrepreneurs of color is good for all women and people of color. It’s also good for the entire country’s economic health, according to the Brookings Institution. That’s why Comcast launched Comcast RISE, a long-term, multi-year effort to provide capital and in-kind resources, like media production, to these entrepreneurs.
Access to capital remains the number one concern of small business owners and entrepreneurs. For people of color and women, the problems of owning a small business can be compounded compared to the population at large.
Study after study shows these business owners face unique challenges, many related to finding the same access as their counterparts.
People of color are twice as likely to be turned down for business loans, and it keeps them from applying for loans at all. Women-owned businesses grow at only half the rate of those run by men.
Yet, those same studies found that the growth effect from businesses run by people of color is exponential. The more success these businesses find leads to more businesses owned by minority groups of all kinds, along with more jobs and more income for all employees.
Comcast RISE (Representation, Investment, Strength, and Empowerment) is designed to help small businesses owned by people of color and women in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic, which disproportionately affected those businesses.
Comcast Business partners with Effectv, Comcast’s advertising sales wing, to provide that support in multiple areas, including meeting with RISE entrepreneurs to discover how best to grow their business. If media time is a part of that plan, the next step is to create a 30-second commercial, develop a media strategy and provide a schedule to air the commercial over a 90-day period.
Another opportunity area is a technology makeover, which begins with a professional consultation to determine the business’ needs. Possible upgrades include cybersecurity technology, video monitors and other computer equipment. Some businesses might also need desktop computers, laptops or tablets.
Comcast is also offering monetary grants for businesses and its owners to invest in themselves. In 2021, Comcast RISE offered $10,000 grants to 1,100 American small businesses owned by people of color, for a total of $11 million.
Since November 2020, Comcast RISE has awarded support to 9,500 entrepreneurs and provided $91 million in assistance. Small business owners in 704 cities across 37 states have received $16 million in grants and $75 million in creative and technological support.
The goal is to provide this same consultation, services, and monetary investment to 13,000 qualifying American small businesses by the end of 2022. It’s part of Comcast’s expanded commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, a multi-pronged plan that demands action and investment from every area of the company.
Businesses eligible for Comcast RISE must:
· Be independently owned and operated (franchises are not qualified);
· Be registered to conduct business in the United States;
· Have been in operation for at least one year, located inside the Comcast Business or Effectv service area footprint;
· And at least 51% owned and operated by someone who identifies as a person of color, including Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, and Asian American owners or a woman.
To learn more about Comcast RISE or to apply to the program, visit https://www.comcastrise.com/rise-apply. Applications are being accepted through October 16, 2022.