Comcast realizes that serving the Region means serving an incredibly diverse population. People of all races, ethnicities, and identities call Northwest Indiana home. One of the ways Comcast is helping to support that diversity is through Comcast RISE, which stands for Representation, Investment, Strength and Empowerment. Comcast RISE is part of Project UP, the company’s comprehensive, $1 billion initiative to advance digital equity and help build a future of unlimited possibilities.
The RISE program was started in 2020 as a way to support the businesses that were statistically hit the hardest by COVID-19. Originally, the program accepted applications from small businesses owned by people of color, but the program expanded in 2021 to include all-women-owned small businesses. A panel of judges reviews the applications, and companies accepted into the RISE program receive practical support to expand their business.
Applications are judged on three main criteria: the completeness of the application, the persuasiveness of the application, and the originality of the application. This helps to ensure that only legitimate applicants with heart and knowledge that just need a bit of a helping hand are selected.
The RISE program has four main areas of support for small businesses to help them not just stay afloat but also grow and expand. RISE awardees receive one or more of the following services: marketing consultation services, a 90-day TV media campaign, creative production services to create a 30-second commercial and a tech makeover featuring a combination of Comcast Business services and computer equipment.
The Comcast RISE Investment Fund is an extension of the program and recently awarded $10,000 grants to small businesses in Chicago, Miami, Oakland, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. areas. These areas were selected because they were hit particularly hard by COVID-19. The most recent round of grants announced in November featured 100 grants distributed throughout each area. The money awarded from this round alone totaled $5 million.
Over its two-year term, RISE has provided over $110 million of support to over 13,000 small businesses throughout the United States. On top of the financial and business support services provided by the RISE program, Comcast has partnered with the entrepreneur-based platform Ureeka to provide ongoing mentorship and resources to help small businesses succeed over the long-term. In addition, the company partnered with tech education and training nonprofit Hopeworks on a Comcast RISE recipient map to encourage consumers to patronize small Comcast RISE businesses in their communities.
Supporting local businesses translates to national success, and everyone benefits when the community they’re a part of flourishes. Additional details about the RISE program in 2023 are forthcoming. To learn more about Comcast’s RISE program, see recipient success stories, or find local businesses that have benefited from the program, visit the initiative’s website at comcastrise.com.