Comcast launches effort to support Black businesses

Comcast launches effort to support Black businesses.

Credit: Joe Raedle

Credit: Joe Raedle

Comcast is seeking applications from Black-owned small businesses that need help with technology, marketing and equipment.

The Philadelphia-based cable giant on Tuesday launched Comcast Rise, which is designed to help small businesses jumpstart their operations as the nation struggles with the impact of COVID-19. The program will offer the companies grants, technical help and media campaigns to drive growth and sustain positive performance.

"There’s this old saying, ‘When America catches a cold, Black America catches pneumonia,’ " Ron Busby, president and CEO of U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., said in a release. "Black businesses, which never recovered from the great recession, have been ravaged by COVID-19 with Black-owned businesses twice as likely to close as their white counterparts.

While many businesses have responded by moving online or retrofitting to allow for social distancing, many Black business owners have had to halt their operations completely," he said.

Comcast RISE, which stands for “Representation, Investment, Strength and Empowerment,” will roll out in waves over three years, the company said. The first wave will include the marketing and technology support for small Black-owned businesses.

The program is part of a larger $100 million diversity, equity and inclusion initiative the company launched this past summer, the company said.

“Small businesses have always played an integral role in our nation’s growth and future," Comcast Advertising Chief Marketing Officer Maria Weaver said. "In the midst of the pandemic, these entrepreneurs provided many of the services and resources that keep our communities up and running.”

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