Comcast will award $1 million in total grants to 100 small businesses in King and Pierce Counties as well as 128 small businesses in Washington state which were selected to receive technology and marketing services from Comcast RISE. These recipients are among 13,000 small businesses owned by women and people of color – including Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, and Asian Americans, among others who have received over $110 million in grants, marketing, and technology services through Comcast RISE since 2020.
Small businesses, which make up 99.5% of all companies in Washington state, were particularly hard hit by the pandemic. A study from the National Bureau of Economic Research cited that Black-owned small businesses were hardest hit, suffering the steepest decline (41 percent), followed by Hispanic and Asian-American-owned small businesses. In addition, according to a study by the National Association of Women Business Owners, women-owned businesses have been growing at only half the rate of those run by men, namely because women struggle to access capital and other resources to help them succeed.
“We are incredibly proud of the work that the Comcast RISE team has done over its two-year term to help the small businesses we’ve worked with to not only survive but also to thrive,” said Teresa Ward-Maupin, Senior Vice President, Digital and Customer Experience, Comcast Business. “We recognize that small businesses are the backbone of our economy and look forward to taking our learnings from this program as we find new ways to further empower and strengthen even more small businesses and entrepreneurs at the heart of our local communities through Project UP, our comprehensive initiative to advance digital equity and build a future of unlimited possibilities.”
“Comcast RISE gave me more than just capital to prevent my business from closing. 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,” said Margie Haywood, owner of Work and Play Lounge. “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.”
As Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell said this September: “Small businesses make our communities vibrant places to live and work, and they have shown tremendous resilience over the last two years. 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.”
With today’s announcement, the following 100 selected businesses in King and Pierce Counties will each receive a $10,000 grant:
Comcast has met its goal of supporting 13,000 small businesses nationwide by the program’s close at the end of 2022. To continue highlighting recipients, Comcast RISE has partnered with tech education and training nonprofit Hopeworks to develop and release an interactive map to encourage consumers to patronize small Comcast RISE businesses in their communities.
The latest round of Comcast RISE recipients, which includes over 2,800 small businesses owned by people of color, will receive a TV campaign, production of a TV commercial or consulting services from Effectv or computer equipment, Internet, voice, and cybersecurity from Comcast Business. In addition, as part of round four of the Comcast RISE Investment Fund, 500 additional small businesses in Chicago, Miami, Oakland, Seattle (King and Pierce Counties), and Washington, D.C. will each receive $10,000 grants, bringing the total Comcast RISE Investment Fund recipients to 2,100 and the total dollar amount distributed to $21 million. For more information and for a full list of recipients, visit www.ComcastRISE.com.
Comcast RISE is one of several programs that Comcast has overseen as part of Project UP that is aimed at closing the digital divide and achieving digital equity. Stay tuned for more information as Comcast develops its next initiative to positively impact the small businesses it serves within its footprint. And for more information on Comcast’s continuing programs and partnerships to advance economic mobility and open doors for the next generation of entrepreneurs, visit Project UP.