February 9, 2021 -- Mayor Sylvester Turner, the Comcast Corporation, and several community leaders gathered at City Hall today to announce the Comcast RISE Investment Fund, which will award $5 million dollars of grants to hundreds of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)-owned, small businesses in five cities nationwide, including $1 million in Houston.
Beginning on March 1 through March 14, eligible businesses in Houston, in addition to Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit and Philadelphia, can apply for a $10,000 grant at www.ComcastRISE.com. A total of 100 grants in Houston, or 500 grants overall, will be awarded in May 2021. The Investment Fund is the latest extension of Comcast RISE, the multi-year, multi-faceted initiative launched in October 2020 that initially focused on black-owned, small businesses and then extended to BIPOC-owned to help those hardest hit by COVID-19.
"The City of Houston knows the pandemic has created challenges for many small businesses, especially minority-owned businesses, and we continue to do everything we can to help them survive until things get better,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “The Comcast RISE Investment Fund will ensure that 100 small businesses that exist today continue to exist tomorrow. I highly encourage BIPOC-owned small businesses that are in most financial need to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.”
The Comcast RISE Investment Fund is focused on small businesses who have been in business for three or more years with 1-25 employees. Businesses must be in the following geographic locations to be eligible: Houston, TX (Harris and Fort Bend Counties).
To help drive outreach about the program and provide additional support, training and mentorship, Comcast has also awarded more than $2 million to nearly 20 community-based organizations in the five cities, including Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Greater Houston Black Chamber, Asian Chamber of Commerce, Greater Houston LGBT, Houston East End Chamber and Cámara de Empresarios in Houston, as well as the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), Operation Hope, Ureeka, U.S. Black Chambers, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, National Asian American Chamber of Commerce.
“Small businesses have always played an integral role in Houston’s growth and future,” said Ralph Martinez, senior vice president for Comcast’s Houston region. “In the midst of the pandemic, these entrepreneurs provided many of the services and resources that have kept our communities up and running.”
Studies show that BIPOC-owned, small businesses have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic, and recent research by JPMorgan Chase Institute found that Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Houston and Philadelphia were in the top markets for sharp declines in local commerce spending. Additionally, the majority of applications for the Comcast RISE marketing and technology services component are from these five cities.
“Unfortunately, many small businesses in Houston were not able to withstand the many months of suppressed revenues. While we remain optimistic about our economic recovery, public-private partnerships will play a vital role in minimizing the disruptions that so many small businesses, specifically minority-owned business, are facing,” said Vice Mayor Pro Tem Martha Castex-Tatum who chairs the City of Houston’s Economic Development Committee.
In addition to the investment fund, Comcast RISE, which stands for “Representation, Investment, Strength and Empowerment,” provides the opportunity for BIPOC-owned, small businesses nationwide to apply for one or more of the following support focus areas for the opportunity to receive one. Over 700 recipients were announced in November, with the next wave of recipients to be announced in March 2021.
Marketing Services: The following services from Effectv, the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable, and its creative agency, Mnemonic, are designed to help recipients with their marketing and media campaigns, including:Media: A linear TV media campaign to run over a 90-day period.
Creative Production: Turnkey :30 TV commercial production, plus a media strategy consultation and 90-day media placement schedule.
Consulting: Advertising and marketing consultations with local Effectv marketing, research and creative teams to gain insights on how to drive business.
Technology Makeovers: The state-of-the-art equipment and technology upgrade from Comcast Business includes computer equipment as well as Internet, Voice and Cybersecurity services for up to a 12-month period. (Taxes and other fees may still apply for technology makeover services.)
In addition, all eligible applicants will receive a monthly Comcast RISE newsletter with educational content, and all small business owners can visit the Comcast RISE destination on the X1 platform, which features aggregated small business news, tips, insights and more. The destination is designed to help businesses grow by empowering them through inspiration and entertainment. Just say “Comcast RISE” into the X1 voice remote.
Comcast RISE is part of a larger $100 million Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative that Comcast launched this summer. In June, 2020, Comcast NBCUniversal announced the development of a comprehensive, multi-year 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.
More information and the applications to apply for either the grant program or the marketing and technology services are available at www.ComcastRISE.com.
About Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company with three primary businesses: Comcast Cable, NBCUniversal, and Sky. Comcast Cable is one of the United States’ largest high-speed internet, video, and phone providers to residential customers under the Xfinity brand, and also provides these services to businesses. It also provides wireless and security and automation services to residential customers under the Xfinity brand. NBCUniversal is global and operates news, entertainment and sports cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, television production operations, television station groups, Universal Pictures, and Universal Parks and Resorts. Sky is one of Europe's leading media and entertainment companies, connecting customers to a broad range of video content through its pay television services. It also provides communications services, including residential high-speed internet, phone, and wireless services. Sky operates the Sky News broadcast network and sports and entertainment networks, produces original content, and has exclusive content rights. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.
About Comcast Business
About Comcast Business Comcast Business offers Ethernet, Internet, Wi-Fi, Voice, TV and Managed Enterprise Solutions to help organizations of all sizes transform their business. Powered by an advanced network, and backed by 24/7 customer support, Comcast Business is one of the largest contributors to the growth of Comcast Cable. Comcast Business is the nation’s largest cable provider to small and mid-size businesses and has emerged as a force in the Enterprise market; recognized over the last two years by leading industry associations as one of the fastest growing providers of Ethernet services. For more information, visit www.business.comcast.com or call 866- 429-3085. Follow on Twitter @ComcastBusiness and on other social media networks at http://business.comcast.com/social.
Effectv, the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable, helps local, regional and national advertisers use the best of digital with the power of TV to grow their business. It provides multi-screen marketing solutions to make advertising campaigns more effective and easier to execute. Headquartered in New York with offices throughout the country, Effectv has a presence in 66 markets with nearly 35 million owned and represented subscribers. For more information, visit www.effectv.com.