Comcast RISE Investment Fund to offer $1 million grants to BIPOC-owned small businesses in Philly and Chester
The program is the latest effort to come out of Comcast RISE, a multi-year initiative to help BIPOC businesses survive and recover from COVID-19.
On Feb. 9, Comcast announced the launch of its Comcast RISE Investment Fund, which will distribute $5 million in grant funding to BIPOC-owned small businesses across five cities nationwide.
In Philadelphia and Chester, small businesses will be eligible for $1 million from the pot in the form of $10,000 grants. In the end, Comcast will give out 100 in Philadelphia and Chester as part of the investment fund.
To be eligible, Comcast is targeting businesses in operation for at least three years with between one and 25 employees.
Applications for the investment fund will open on March 1 and close on March 14.
The Comcast RISE Investment Fund is the latest extension of Comcast RISE.
Founded in October 2020, the multi-year, multi-platform initiative provides BIPOC-owned small businesses the opportunity to apply for support through both marketing and technology upgrades.
Seven hundred Black-owned businesses were awarded support in November 2020, following the first wave of applications. Recipients in the second wave will be announced in March 2021.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, BIPOC-owned small businesses have been the hardest hit by the subsequent economic downturn.
A 2020 study on the impact of the pandemic on small business owners published by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that in the early stages of the downturn, Black business owners decreased by 41%. Latinx business owners saw a decrease of 32%.
For Dalila Wilson-Scott, executive vice president and chief diversity officer at the Comcast Corporation and president of the Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation, the goal of the Comcast RISE Investment Fund is not only to sustain BIPOC-owned small businesses, but allow them to expand and thrive.
“BIPOC entrepreneurs need access to capital along with the training resources and networks that are so critical to success,” she said. “Through the Comcast RISE Investment Fund, we are investing in BIPOC-owned, small businesses that create jobs and play a vital role in supporting our communities.”