New initiative goes beyond survival to assist small Black businesses with sustainable growth

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The Comcast Corporation launched Comcast RISE, an initiative created to help strengthen and empower small businesses hard hit by COVID-19 on October 13, 2020. The Comcast RISE program will help thousands of small businesses over the next three years. The multi-faceted program offers grants, marketing and technology upgrades, including media campaigns and connectivity, computer and voice equipment, as well as free marketing insights to all applicants.

U.S. small businesses have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic. A recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that the number of U.S. active business owners dropped from 15 million to 11.7 million from February to April. The study cited that Black-owned small businesses were hardest hit, suffering the steepest decline (41 percent), followed by Hispanic and Asian American-owned small businesses.

The program will roll out in waves and started with U.S.-based Black-owned small businesses being able to apply for marketing and technology support and equipment to jumpstart and help them sustain business operations. In addition, all small businesses are able to sign up for free marketing insights and resources. The next wave of the program will open up eligibility to include Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), those next hit hardest by the effects of the pandemic.

“There’s this old saying, ‘When America catches a cold, Black America catches pneumonia.’ Black Businesses, which never recovered from the great recession, have been ravaged by COVID-19 with Black-owned businesses twice as likely to close as their white counterparts. While many businesses have responded by moving online or retrofitting to allow for social distancing, many Black business owners have had to halt their operations completely,” said Ron Busby, President/-

CEO, U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. “Comcast RISE will help Black businesses adapt to the changing landscape and position them to be leaders in America’s burgeoning online to offline economy. USBC commends Comcast for starting this program and for their hands-on support of Black-owned businesses, because advancing Black businesses advances us all.”

Comcast decided to launch Comcast RISE, which stands for “Representation, Investment, Strength and Empowerment,” to help the hardest hit small business owners get a fresh start and boost their operations during this difficult time. Comcast RISE brings together two of the company’s brands —Comcast Business and Effectv, both with expertise in the small business space — to help empower business owners with the tools, expertise and resources needed to navigate the economic effects of the pandemic.

“We see and know firsthand how vital small businesses are in powering economic growth, recovery and innovation. Now more than ever, driving awareness and maintaining a strong digital presence are crucial for these businesses to succeed,” said Teresa Ward-Maupin, SVP for Digital and Customer Experience at Comcast Business. “We created Comcast RISE to give these business owners access to the tools and resources they need to survive the pandemic and thrive.”

“Small businesses have always played an integral role in our nation’s growth and future. In the midst of the pandemic, these entrepreneurs provided many of the services and resources that keep our communities up and running,” said Comcast Advertising Chief Marketing Officer Maria Weaver. “We’re proud and humbled to support those hit hardest by the pandemic, and provide them with marketing and technology support at a time when they need it the most.”

Comcast RISE consists of the following main components:

  • A media and technology resources program: This pillar combines Effectv’s renowned media platform and marketing expertise, its award-winning creative agency, Mnemonic, and state-of-the-art technical support from Comcast Business to help small businesses foster and elevate growth. Recipients will receive help with their marketing, media campaigns and creation of 30-second commercials, as well as website and tech upgrades, including:
  • Consulting: Advertising and marketing consultations with local Effectv marketing, research and creative teams to gain insights on how to grow your business.
  • Media: A linear TV media campaign to run over a 90-day period.
  • Creative Production: Turnkey :30 TV commercial production for their businesses.
  • Technology Makeovers: Computer equipment and Internet, voice and cybersecurity services for up to a 12-month period to support business recovery while implementing other Comcast small business initiatives. (Taxes and other fees may still apply for tech makeover services.)
  • Business resources to help with curated content: Comcast will create a business learning destination page on the X1 platform. This will include programming content about small businesses, tutorials and educational content intended to help businesses grow.
  • Grants: In the coming months, Comcast will be awarding grants of up to $10,000 each for U.S.-based small and diverse businesses that have been in operations for three to five years.

Comcast RISE is part of a larger $100 million Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative that Comcast launched this summer. In June, Comcast NBCUniversal announced the development of a comprehensive, multiyear 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.

In the future, the program aims to expand to other small and diverse business owners. Visit http://www.ComcastRISE.com for more information on eligibility requirements, and the latest updates.

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