COVID-19 and subsequent lockdowns have devastated small businesses across the country as consumers forego their local shops for online alternatives. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, Black businesses were hit particularly hard, with a 41% drop in business activity. Latinx businesses noticed a 32% drop. Some of these companies will take years to bounce back, even with resources like the CARES Act. This reality is why some enterprise organizations are stepping up to help small businesses in their communities and across the country—organizations like Comcast. In October 2020, Comcast Corporation launched a new program to support Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) small business owners. The program is called Comcast RISE and is already making a difference in local communities. What Is Comcast RISE? Comcast RISE is a support program for small business owners who need assistance. It is a multi-faceted option that provides “grants, marketing, and technology upgrades, including media campaigns and connectivity, computer and voice equipment, as well as free marketing insights to all applicants,” according to the corporate announcement. RISE stands for Representation, Investment, Strength, and Empowerment and is meant to help the business owners hardest-hit by the pandemic. It is part of Comcast’s $100 million Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative launched in the summer of 2020. What Is Included in the Comcast RISE Program? One of the key features of Comcast RISE is that it isn’t just financial assistance. While grant applicants will be awarded up to $10,000 for each small business, Comcast is also providing consulting, marketing training, and promotional materials to help these small business owners. Each small business that is awarded a grant will get a media campaign that lasts for 90 days and help with creating 30-second commercials. Comcast will also help small businesses update their website designs and content while providing support over 12 months to cover internet, voice, and cybersecurity services. This comprehensive grant program gives small business owners the cash they need while empowering them to set up their business infrastructure for future success. How to Apply You can apply for a grant through the Comcast RISE website and learn about the application criteria set by the organization. Your company needs to be at least 51% owned and operated by Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC). It also needs to be operating for 1 or more years. Additionally, your business must be located within the Comcast Business or Effectv service area footprint. Home-based businesses may apply for the program, but they are not eligible for a Tech Makeover. The application process is a single form, but it includes multiple open-ended questions and asks applicants to submit an optional video about their businesses. Comcast RISE and Lendio Lendio is proud to be a partner of Comcast Business and thrilled to work with companies that want to build up small businesses and particularly BIPOC entrepreneurs. Along with applying to the Comcast RISE program, learn more about the COVID-19 relief options for business owners through the Small Business Administration. Let us help you find additional support to get through the pandemic.