The Comcast RISE (Representation, Investment, Strength, Empowerment) program has been a force in helping Black entrepreneurs and small-business owners continue to stay in business and thrive.
The program is part of a multi-year commitment by Comcast to help businesses led by people of color by providing them with grant money, technical assistance, marketing, and media training to help minority businesses thrive across the U.S.
The RISE Program, which began in October 2020, arrived when Black businesses were suffering due to the coronavirus pandemic. During the first three months of the pandemic, Black businesses decreased by 41%, the largest decrease by any racial demographic according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.
However, the program is also part of the reason why Black business owners in the United State are up more than 30% from pre-pandemic levels. Since its inception, the Comcast RISE program has helped more than 9,500 entrepreneurs and small businesses of color nationwide not only stay in business during one of the most unpredictable times in American history but grow, reach new customers, and build a digital presence.
With August being National Black Business Month, the Comcast RISE program is celebrating Black-owned businesses while continuing its commitment to help them in the future.
“While we know that no single organization can solve historic and systemic inequities overnight, we are committed to taking tangible actions that can drive long-term impact and change,” Teresa Ward-Maupin, senior vice president of digital and customer experience for Comcast Business said at an event celebrating Black Business Month. “Comcast RISE and the Comcast RISE Investment Fund have offered the opportunity for small businesses owned by people of color and women to help grow their businesses, create jobs, and continue to serve as the backbone of their communities.”
Last year, the RISE program awarded more than 150 Black-owned small businesses in Philadelphia with consulting, media, and creative production services from Effectv, the advertising arm of Comcast Cable. The program also awarded businesses in Philadelphia with technological upgrades funded by Comcast Business.
In addition to Philadelphia, the Comcast Rise program has helped small minority businesses in Chicago, Maryland, and Miami. Additionally, last month Comcast announced it was awarding 100 small businesses in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, with $10,000 in grants.
Pittsburgh’s first Black mayor, Ed Gainey, said in a statement that the grants will help not only local businesses but the city. “These grants are investments for our future and are key to helping transform Pittsburgh and create new pathways to prosperity and a thriving city,” he said.