Grants totaling $1 million are being given to 100 BIPOC-owned small businesses in the Houston area through the Comcast RISE program.
In addition, more than 150 BIPOC-owned small businesses in the region will receive technology and marketing assistance from Comcast RISE. BIPOC stands for Black, indigenous, and people of color.
"COVID-19 made a tough year of 2020. As a small business, what hurt most was being deemed nonessential and having to close our doors," Angelus McFarlane, owner of Houston's Ravlin Martial Arts, says in an April 27 news release from media, cable TV, and internet services giant Comcast. "I'm extremely excited that a business like Comcast has taken an interest to support small businesses. I believe that the technology resources from Comcast will help us, which will then bring more people back and help us grow."
Here's a sampling of recipients of the $10,000 grants in the Houston area:
- Advantage Motorsports
- Beyond Music Management
- Candid Smiles Dentistry
- Dumpling Haus
- Million Cakes
- OutSmart Media
- Phuong My Music
- Trinity Freight Services
- True Image Orthodontics
- Wonder Wall Wraps
Houston is among five places where small businesses are getting Comcast RISE grants of $10,000 each. The others are Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, and Philadelphia.
To qualify for a Comcast RISE grant in Houston, a BIPOC-owned small business:
- Must be located in either Harris County or Fort Bend County.
- Must have been in business for at least three years.
- Must employ no more than 25 people.
Overall, Comcast RISE is supporting 13,000 BIPOC-owned small businesses with monetary grants; a TV campaign, production of a TV commercial, or consulting services from Effectv; or computer equipment, internet, voice, or cybersecurity from Comcast Business.
In addition, Comcast RISE has teamed up with Ureeka, an online platform for entrepreneurs, to provide grant recipients with business coaching to help build their skills. The Ureeka platform also will offer access to education and expertise.
"Comcast RISE represents a holistic program that can help advance BIPOC entrepreneurs. The commitment to coaching, capital, and connections is critical for historically overlooked communities in achieving economic prosperity," says Melissa Bradley, co-founder of Ureeka.
Comcast RISE was formed in late 2020 to give BIPOC-owned small businesses various tools to survive and thrive. Among BIPOC-owned small businesses, those run by Black, Hispanic, and Asian entrepreneurs were hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"When we launched Comcast RISE, we knew a profound need existed in many of the communities we serve," says Ralph Martinez, Comcast's regional senior vice president in Houston. "We now see firsthand how the program's marketing and technology resources are benefiting Houston business owners, who are working to rise above 2020. We anticipate these awards will have a long-lasting, positive economic impact on these businesses and beyond."
RISE stands for representation, investment, strength, and empowerment.