Independent small businesses are the backbone of our communities, and right now, more than ever, small businesses owned by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) are hurting.
That’s why Comcast has announced RISE, an initiative created to help strengthen and empower small businesses hard hit by COVID-19 and social unrest. RISE, which stands for “Representation, Investment, Strength and Empowerment,” is designed to help thousands of small businesses owned by underrepresented groups across the nation over the next three years, by offering offer grants, media and marketing assistance, and technology upgrades.
According to a recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the number of U.S. active business owners dropped from 15 million to 11.7 million between February and April. The study cited that Black-owned small businesses were hardest hit, suffering the steepest decline (41 percent), followed by Hispanic and Asian American-owned small businesses.
The Comcast RISE program will roll out in waves, initially opening to Black-owned small businesses; followed by the next wave of eligibility to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), those next hit hardest by the effects of the pandemic.
“The cumulative crises of 2020 have impacted the economic resilience of each and every one of us. We’ve also witnessed the realities of racial injustice, as the combination of COVID-19’s disruptive impact on businesses and insufficient emergency financial support threatens to erase all progress on equitable entrepreneurship and closing the unacceptable ten-to-one racial wealth gap,” said Cameron Whitten, CEO of Brown Hope in Portland. “I applaud Comcast and the RISE initiative, because we need business leaders to work with utmost urgency to invest in an equitable, just, and prosperous America— like we never have before.”
“The aim of RISE is to help the hardest hit small business owners get a fresh start and boost their operations during this difficult time,” said Mark Nugent, Senior Director of Business Development for Comcast Oregon/SW Washington. “RISE brings together two of the company’s brands — Comcast Business and Effectv, both with tremendous expertise in the small business space — to help empower business owners with the tools, advice and resources needed to navigate the economic effects of the pandemic.”
Comcast RISE consists of the following main components:
- A media and technology resources program: This pillar combines Effectv’s renowned media platform and marketing expertise, its award-winning creative agency, Mnemonic, and state-of-the-art technical support from Comcast Business to help small businesses foster and elevate growth. Recipients will receive help with their marketing, media campaigns and creation of 30-second commercials, as well as website and tech upgrades, including:
- Consulting:Advertising and marketing consultations with local Effectv marketing, research and creative teams to gain insights on how to grow your business.
- Media:A linear TV media campaign to run over a 90-day period.
- Creative Production:Turnkey :30 TV commercial production for their businesses.
- Technology Makeovers:Computer equipment and Internet, voice and cybersecurity services for up to a 12-month period to support business recovery while implementing other Comcast small business initiatives. (Taxes and other fees may still apply for tech makeover services.)
- Business resources to help with curated content: Comcast will create a business learning destination pageon the X1 platform. This will include programming content about small businesses, tutorials and educational content intended to help businesses grow.
- Grants:In the coming months, Comcast will be awarding grants of up to $10,000 each for small and diverse businesses that have been in operations for three to five years. Comcast RISE is part of a larger $100 million Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative that Comcast launched this summer. In June, Comcast NBCUniversal announced the development of a comprehensive, multiyear 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.
In the future, the program aims to expand to other small and diverse business owners. Visit http://www.ComcastRISE.com to apply.