Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA) 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 in five cities nationwide, including $1 million in Philadelphia and the City of Chester. Beginning on March 1 through March 14, eligible businesses in Philadelphia and Chester, in addition to Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, and Houston, can apply for a $10,000 grant at ComcastRISE.com. A total of 100 grants in Philadelphia and Chester, 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: City of Philadelphia and City of Chester.
To help drive outreach about the program and provide additional support, training and mentorship, Comcast has also awarded more than $2 million to nearly 20 community-based organizations in the five cities, including The Enterprise Center, Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations, and PIDC, Philadelphia’s public-private economic development corporation, locally.
“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 Comcast RISE Investment Fund is throwing a critical lifeline to BIPOC small businesses that were disadvantaged prior to COVID-19 and today, as a result of the pandemic, are now fighting for their very existence,” said Philadelphia City Councilwoman Cherelle L. Parker. “I am a proponent of programs that breathe life into small businesses. This grant, which is simple to apply for, responds to this once-in-a-lifetime public health crisis with an immediacy and urgency that simply cannot be understated.”
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.
Marketing Services: The following services from Effectv, the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable, and its creative agency, Mnemonic, are designed to help recipients with their marketing and media campaigns, including:
Media: A linear TV media campaign to run over a 90-day period.
- Creative Production: Turnkey :30 TV commercial production, plus a media strategy consultation and 90-day media placement schedule.
- Consulting: Advertising and marketing consultations with local Effectv marketing, research and creative teams to gain insights on how to drive business.
Technology Makeovers: The state-of-the-art equipment and technology upgrade from Comcast Business includes computer equipment as well as Internet, Voice and Cybersecurity services for up to a 12-month period. (Taxes and other fees may still apply for technology makeover services.)
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 this 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 at ComcastRISE.com.