(Jeff Fusco/AP Images for Comcast)
Part one of the RISE program provided marketing and tech updates for Black-owned companies, specifically. Now, the Center City-based telecomms corporation will begin awarding $10,000 grants to Black, Indigenous and people of color-owned small businesses in five regions around the country through its Comcast RISE Investment Fund.
Through this phase, small businesses in Philadelphia and the City of Chester are allotted $1 million to be shared in 100 grants of $10,000. Small businesses in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit and Houston are also eligible, with a total of $5 million in RISE grant funding available.
Comcast is also awarding more than $2 million to 20 community-based organizations in these five metro areas, including The Enterprise Center, Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations and PIDC locally, to “help drive outreach about the program and provide additional support, training and mentorship,” the corporation said Tuesday.
The RISE Investment Fund is focused on small businesses that have been in business for three or more years and employ between one and 25 people. Local business owners interested in applying must registered in Philadelphia or the City of Chester. Applications for the grants will be open between March 1 and March 14, and the funding will be awarded in May.
“BIPOC entrepreneurs need access to capital along with the training resources and networks that are so critical to success,” said Dalila Wilson-Scott, EVP and chief diversity officer at Comcast Corporation and president of the Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation, in a statement.
RISE is part of a $100 million diversity, equity and inclusion initiative that Comcast launched last summer. In its founding announcement, Comcast cited a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research that found that nearly 3.3 million small businesses became inactive between February and April of 2020. And Black-owned businesses were hit the hardest, the study found, dropping nearly 41%. (It’s worse in Philadelphia.)
“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,” Wilson-Scott said. “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.”
Comcast also announced last week that it is increasing speeds of its low-cost Internet Essentials service as of March 1.
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