The Comcast RISE Investment Fund is providing $5 million in grants to hundreds of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC)-owned small businesses in five cities nationwide, including $1 million in Chicago and Cook County, Comcast announced.
From March 1 through March 14, eligible Chicago and Cook County businesses, in addition to businesses in Atlanta, Detroit, Houston and Philadelphia, can apply for $10,000 grants at www.ComcastRISE.com.
A total of 100 grants in Chicago and Cook County and 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 businesses to help those hardest hit by COVID-19.
The Comcast RISE Investment Fund is focused on small businesses that have been in business for three or more years with one to 25 employees.
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 Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the South Shore Chamber of Commerce and the Women’s Business Development Center in Illinois, and in other locations and nationally, the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), Operation Hope, Ureeka, U.S. Black Chambers, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the National Asian American Chamber of Commerce.
“Comcast RISE is designed to give BIPOC-owned small businesses tools to not only survive the pandemic, but thrive afterward,” said Jeff Cobb, Regional Vice President of Comcast Business. “We’re pleased to be able to make these resources available in Chicago and Cook County, which is home to one of the most pandemic-impacted small-business communities in the nation.”
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.
“Helping small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the state’s top priorities,” said Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives Emanuel Chris Welch (D-Hillside). “This pandemic has challenged all Illinois communities, especially communities of color. It’s encouraging to see initiatives like Comcast RISE come to the table with tools and assistance that can help our BIPOC-owned businesses survive the pandemic.”
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 www.ComcastRISE.com.