Comcast has awarded $1 million in grants to BIPOC-owned small businesses in Philly and nearby Chester County. It’s part of the telecomms giant’s three-year initiative called RISE — representation, investment, strength and empowerment — to support U.S. businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Part one of the RISE program provided marketing and tech updates for Black-owned companies, specifically. Now, the Center City-based Comcast has awarded $10,000 grants to Black, Indigenous and people of color-owned small businesses in five regions around the country, including Philadelphia. Small businesses in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit and Houston were also eligible, with a total of $5 million in RISE grant funding available.
These cities were identified because they were particularly hard-hit by the pandemic, Comcast said. 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.
Of the 100 local grants, 98 went to Philadelphia businesses and two went to Chester businesses, Comcast said. Industries represented include hospitality, retail, salons, tech and business services, and construction and infrastructure.
Local tech and tech-adjacent companies include 215 Media, a web design and development firm; CES Technologies Inc., a software and hardware consulting firm, HSD Telcomm, a tech systems integration business, and Mighty Engine, a business strategy company.
When Comcast launched RISE, “we knew a profound need existed in many of the communities we serve,” said Teresa Ward-Maupin, SVP for Digital and Customer Experience at Comcast Business, in a statement. “We now have seen firsthand how the program’s marketing and technology resources benefit the business owners who are working hard to rise above 2020, as well as their neighbors who share their commercial corridors, and their suppliers and customers up and down their resource chains. And we’re thrilled to now be able to provide direct monetary assistance as well to ensure our efforts are as comprehensive as possible.”
All RISE grant recipients will also have access to a specialized online networking community with business management platform Ureeka, with access to educational resources, sources of capital, and vetted experts.
“Comcast RISE represents a holistic program that can help advance BIPOC entrepreneurs. The commitment to coaching, capital and connections is critical for historically overlooked communities in achieving economic prosperity,” said Melissa Bradley, Ureeka cofounder (and managing partner of D.C.’s 1863 Ventures). “We are humbled and excited to partner on this program.”
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