Independent small businesses are the backbone of our communities, and right now, more than ever, small businesses are hurting. This is especially true for Black-owned businesses, who have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic, according to a recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research.
That’s why Comcast recently announced the launch of its RISE initiative, which stands for “Representation, Investment, Strength and Empowerment.” The first phase of RISE focused on Black-owned small businesses and to date, more than 700 have been selected as recipients. This includes 200 Black-owned small businesses spanning Greater Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Delaware, from restaurants and salons to professional services and retail shops. In addition, 3,300 small businesses have already signed up to receive the Comcast RISE monthly newsletter, which will offer free marketing insights and resources.
The recipients will receive consulting, media, and creative production services from Effectv, the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable, or technology upgrades from Comcast Business, based on the specific needs. Two of its recipients include Philadelphia-based fitness studio Fit Academy and performing arts and dance studio CreativeMotion in Voorhees, New Jersey.
“The fitness and wellness industry has been among the most impacted by the pandemic and resulting stay-at-home orders. At the onset of the pandemic, I was applying for grants and looking for any kind of funding help to survive. And then I heard about Comcast RISE. Receiving this grant has been a godsend,” said Osayi Osunde, Owner and Co-founder of Fit Academy. “It’s been reassuring that people see the impact we’re trying to make from a health and wellness perspective, especially at a time when it’s critical to keep people healthy, both mentally and physically. We are grateful for the support the program has provided and how it’s allowed us to continue serving our community during this time.”
“The start of the pandemic was a scary time for business owners like me. I wasn’t sure what would happen and I didn’t know what to do at first. I began to look for grants and support to help navigate this new territory and keep my business afloat. That’s when I heard about RISE,” said Ashley Taylor of Voorhees-based performing arts center CreativeMotion. “I’m already seeing the benefits of the technology makeover provided by RISE. Now, I have faster internet that allows me to live stream classes, including the free community classes I started offering on Facebook Live during the pandemic. I’ll also be receiving iPads which will allow me to complete registration forms digitally and cut down on a lot of paperwork. I’m so grateful for the support the program has provided me.”
Comcast RISE brings together two of the company’s brands —Comcast Business and Effectv, both with expertise in the small business space — to empower business owners with the expertise and resources needed to navigate the economic effects of the pandemic. The Comcast RISE program will roll out in waves. The first phase focused on U.S. Black-owned small businesses. The next phase has opened eligibility so that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)-owned, small businesses can all apply.
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.
Visit www.ComcastRISE.com to apply, for more information and the latest updates.