Today, Comcast announced that it will award an additional $1 million in grants to small businesses owned by women and people of color, including Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, and Asian American owners, among others, in King and Pierce counties. Expanding on the foundational work of Mayor Bruce Harrell and the City of Seattle Office of Economic Development to establish regional partnerships that support small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Comcast will award $10,000 cash grants to 100 small business owners.
Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell and Tacoma City Council Member Keith Blocker, along with representatives from the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, joined Comcast today at Work and Play Lounge in West Seattle to announce the Comcast RISE Investment Fund. Beginning on October 3 and through October 16, eligible businesses can apply for a $10,000 grant at www.ComcastRISE.com.
“Small businesses make our communities vibrant places to live and work, and they have shown tremendous resilience over the last two years,” said Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell. “The Comcast RISE grants will provide a boost for women and BIPOC-owned small businesses in Seattle, investing in an equitable recovery for our city and giving these businesses that make up the very fabric of our communities the tools needed to thrive.”
According to a 2022 survey, almost all small businesses (97%) are concerned about inflation, and rising costs are the most significant threats small businesses currently face. Boosting revenue from online sales has become the No. 1 priority for small businesses. Some past Comcast RISE recipients have used their grants to expand their presence online.
To offer some relief and help small businesses continue to grow and adapt, Comcast RISE was formed in late 2020 to give small businesses owned by people of color the grants needed not just to survive but thrive. In November 2021, Comcast RISE announced a major expansion to all women-owned businesses nationwide. Also, as early as March 2020, the Seattle Office of Economic Development identified the need to provide SBA disaster loans to local small businesses impacted by COVID and also launched the Small Business Stabilization Fund at that time.
Last fall, more than 100 small businesses owned by people of color in King and Pierce Counties were awarded $1 million in total grants as well as technology and marketing resources, bringing the total to more than $2 million to date. These recipients are part of the more than 9,500 entrepreneurs nationwide who have been selected as Comcast RISE awardees since the program’s inception. One of the local grant recipients from last year is Margie Haywood, owner of Work and Play Lounge.
“As a self-funded business of more than seven years, facing racism, barriers, rejection, and no access to funding like so many others, the Comcast RISE grant came at a pivotal time in my journey. It was the first money from any institution I had ever received. In the reality of the true cost to run a business, it might not have seemed like much to others, but between the award letter and $10,000, it gave me more than just capital to prevent my business from closing,” said Margie Haywood, owner of Work and Play Lounge. “It gave me and my family joy, hope, and confirmation that we are seen and qualify as business owners who deserve to participate in the business ecosystem. I am more confident after winning, that I am making the right decision as an entrepreneur, that when you use business to build community, advocate and invest in others without expectation of return or benefit, much like Comcast Rise Investment Fund is doing in marginalized communities, you will always get a positive return on investment.”
The Seattle-Tacoma Metropolitan area is among five major metros that also include Chicago, Miami, Oakland, and Washington, D.C., which were selected to award a $10,000 grant to 100 local businesses from the Comcast RISE Investment Fund for a total of $5 million across 500 businesses, bringing the amount awarded nationwide to $21 million to date. Through Comcast RISE, the company also announced it will support 13,000 small businesses, owned by people of color and women with monetary grants; a TV campaign, production of a TV commercial or consulting services from Effectv; or computer equipment, internet, voice, or cybersecurity from Comcast Business by the end of 2022.
“Independent small businesses are the backbone of our communities, and Comcast is committed to supporting them,” said Rodrigo Lopez, regional senior vice president, Comcast Washington. “We encourage small business owners to apply for the Comcast RISE program. The grant may cover any need to help your business survive and thrive. We know no single relief effort can solve historic and systemic inequities overnight, but Comcast is committed to taking tangible actions that can drive long-term impact for change.”
In addition, Comcast RISE invests in ongoing mentorship and resources to help businesses succeed over the long term. The program has partnered with Ureeka, an online platform for entrepreneurs, to provide grant recipients with business coaching to help build skills in company foundation, growing customers, and financial stability. All Comcast RISE recipients will also have a specialized online networking community within Ureeka with access to educational resources, sources of capital, and vetted experts such as U.S. Black Chambers, National Asian Pacific Islander Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Association for Enterprise Opportunity, Walker’s Legacy and Operation Hope.
Comcast RISE Marketing and Technology Services
In addition to the Investment Fund, Comcast RISE, which stands for “Representation, Investment, Strength and Empowerment,” provides the opportunity for small businesses owned by people of color and women nationwide to apply for grants for one or more of the following support focus areas with the opportunity to receive one.
Marketing Services Grant
: 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-second TV commercial production, plus a media strategy consultation and a 90-day linear TV media campaign.
- Consult: Digital audits by Ureeka in the form of Website Repair Reports and SEO Keyword reports to target website mechanics and effective organic marketing
- Technology Makeover Grants: 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 tech makeover services.)
- Monetary Grants: Monetary grants can be used for any business expense. In round one, which was announced in April of 2021, the Comcast RISE Investment Fund provided $5 million in grants to 500 small businesses owned by people of color in five cities: Philadelphia/Chester, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, and Detroit. In round two, which was announced in September of 2021, the Comcast RISE Investment Fund provided $6 million in grants to 600 small businesses in six cities: Miami, Houston, Oakland, Seattle, the Twin Cities, and Washington, D.C. In round three, the Comcast RISE Investment Fund provided an additional $5 million in grants to 500 small businesses owned by people of color and women in five cities: Atlanta, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and the Twin Cities. As noted above, in round four, the Comcast RISE Investment Fund will provide $5 million in grants to 500 small businesses in Chicago, Miami, Oakland, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.
Comcast RISE is part of Project UP, the company’s comprehensive initiative to advance digital equity and help build a future of unlimited possibilities. More information and the applications to apply for either the grant program or marketing and technology services are available at www.ComcastRISE.com.
About City of Seattle Office of Economic Development
The Office of Economic Development (OED) is committed to building an inclusive economy in the City of Seattle. OED works at all levels of our local economy to support small and micro-businesses, partner with neighborhood business districts, support creative business sectors and workers, partner with key industries that drive innovation, job growth and global competitiveness, and invest in our local workforce with an emphasis on young people, low-income, as well as un-and under-employed adults.
About Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company that connects people to moments that matter. We are principally focused on broadband, aggregation, and streaming with over 57 million customer relationships across the United States and Europe. We deliver broadband, wireless, and video through our Xfinity, Comcast Business, and Sky brands; create, distribute, and stream leading entertainment, sports, and news through Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, Universal Studio Group, Sky Studios, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, multiple cable networks, Peacock, NBCUniversal News Group, NBC Sports, Sky News, and Sky Sports; and provide memorable experiences at Universal Parks and Resorts in the United States and Asia. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.