As we work to support equitable recovery efforts locally, one of our key focuses has been supporting business owners and entrepreneurs of color.
While the pandemic’s ripple effect has impacted many businesses, a National Bureau of Economic Research study revealed Black-owned organizations have taken a bigger hit. Nationally, the number of Black business owners plummeted from 1.1 million in February 2020 to 640,000 in April — a 41% loss in a couple of months. Other minority communities also experienced deep losses, including immigrants (a 36 percent drop), Latinx (32 percent), and Asian (26 percent) business owners.
That is why investments in resources and programs that support small businesses’ ability to have equal access to digital equipment and digital skills are one of the key things we are focused on in our work to help Washington state recover. The greater the access the more these businesses will be able to equitably participate in the economy of the future.
Additionally, public and private partnerships can strengthen economic recovery and community resilience for Seattle by leveraging each other’s strengths and investments to extend the impact of the resources available. Our organization is proud to partner with the Seattle Office of Economic Development (OED) to build programs addressing digital equity for these underserved businesses.
Earlier this month we joined forces with OED to discuss this important issue and how we can help address this gap in resources for businesses from communities of color at the 2021 Crosscut Festival. We were also honored to bring together a panel that included Diem Ly, Comcast Community Impact Director, Pamela Banks Director of the Office of Economic Development and Director of Recovery and Equitable Investments, and Jacqueline Christian, small business owner of Six17 Salon.
We hope you enjoyed the video and the thoughtful conversation! In addition to our great public-private partnership with OED, Comcast is working to support businesses of color by providing free resources to these owners and entrepreneurs through our Comcast RISE program.
Comcast RISE offers free technology grants, marketing services and more to businesses seeking assistance and is accepting applicants on a rolling basis. To apply visit: https://www.comcastrise.com/apply/