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100 Oakland Small Businesses Owned by People of Color to Each Receive a $10,000 Grant from Comcast RISE Totaling $1 Million

  • Saturday, October 2, 2021, 9:16 am
  • ACROFAN=Newswire
The Comcast RISE Investment Fund will award $1 million in grants to 100 Oakland small businesses (1 to 25 employees) owned by people of color, including Black, Indigenous, Hispanic and Asian American, among others. Comcast RISE – which stands for Representation, Investment, Strength and Empowerment – has awarded marketing and technology services to 228 businesses in California so far.

To help drive outreach and awareness about Comcast RISE opportunity and provide additional support and training, Comcast has also awarded a $50,000 grant to the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

The announcement was made today during a virtual press conference with the Mayor of Oakland, Libby Schaff; California Assembly Member, Mia Bonta; Alameda County Assessor, Phong La; President & CEO of the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce, Cathy Adams; and Owner of Mannequin Madness in Oakland and previous Comcast RISE recipient, Judi Townsend.

“The economic effects of the global pandemic have been felt worldwide including significant impacts here in Oakland,” said Barbara Leslie, president & CEO, Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. “We know that our small, local, woman-owned and people of color businesses – that are responsible for creating the beautiful tapestry we call home – have been disproportionately impacted by COVID. We applaud Comcast’s vision, through the Comcast RISE Investment Fund, to ensure that small businesses that exist today will be a part of Oakland’s economic and social fabric tomorrow and many years to come.”

“Like many others, my small business was impacted by the pandemic. Thanks to the Comcast RISE program, I can reach new audiences,” said Judi Townsend, owner of Mannequin Madness and Oakland resident. Townsend benefited from the program twice, once with the production and placement of a TV commercial and then with a technology makeover. “The application process was much more straightforward than other grants. I encourage my fellow eligible business owners to apply for the grant and technology or marketing makeovers.”

The Comcast RISE Investment Fund monetary grants are intended to help small businesses owned by people of color grow as they navigate the challenges of the pandemic. The Investment Fund is the latest extension of Comcast RISE, the multi-year, multi-faceted initiative launched in 2020 to provide small businesses owned by people of color the opportunity to apply for marketing and technology services from Comcast Business and Effectv, the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable.

Through Comcast RISE, the company also announced it will support 13,000 small businesses, owned by people of color, 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 by the end of 2022.

Oakland is one of six cities nationwide that was selected to award a $10,000 grant to 100 local businesses from the Comcast RISE Investment Fund, for a total of $6 million across 600 businesses.

“When we launched Comcast RISE, we knew a profound need existed in many of the communities we serve,” said Kristeen Cominiello, Vice President of Comcast Business, Comcast California. “We now have seen firsthand how the program’s marketing and technology resources benefit the business owners who are working hard to rise above what happened in 2020. Today, with Oakland being chosen as a Comcast RISE Investment Fund grant city, we are so excited to see how this infusion of funding will further propel businesses. We know the impacts will be meaningful and far reaching.”

Comcast RISE is part of an expanded Diversity, Equity and Inclusion commitment that Comcast announced last summer, as well as a coordinated cross-company effort to address digital inequities through sustainable programming and investments such as Internet Essentials and Lift Zones.

In addition, grant recipients will receive a complimentary 12-month membership to the coaching program from Ureeka, an online platform for entrepreneurs, to help them build skills, gain more customers and become financially stable.

Comcast RISE was formed in late 2020 to give small businesses owned by people of color, from bakeries and barber shops to childcare centers and cleaning services, the tools needed to not just survive, but thrive.

[Comcast RISE Marketing and Technology Services]

In addition to the Investment Fund, Comcast RISE provides the opportunity for small businesses owned by people of color nationwide to apply for one or more of the following support focus areas with the opportunity to receive one.

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-second TV commercial production, plus a media strategy consultation and a 90-day linear TV media campaign.

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 tech makeover services.)

Monetary Grants: In the first round, Comcast RISE announced $5 million in grants to 500 businesses across five metropolitan areas including Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta and Houston. Each business received $10,000 to invest in its own growth and sustainability. The grants were awarded in May. In September 2021, Comcast RISE announced that $10,000 grants will be awarded to 600 small businesses in Houston, Miami, Oakland, Seattle, the Twin Cities, and Washington, D.C., providing $6 million additional dollars to hundreds of small businesses owned by people of color, bringing the total to $11 million in grants awarded as part of the Comcast RISE Investment Fund.

All small business owners can visit the Comcast RISE destination on Xfinity X1, which features aggregated small business news, resources, Comcast RISE recipient stories and more. The destination is designed to help businesses grow by empowering them through inspiration, education and entertainment. Just say “Comcast RISE” into the X1 voice remote.

[Comcast’s Ongoing Commitment to Advancing Digital Equity]

Comcast RISE is part of Comcast’s ongoing efforts to advance digital equity and help to provide underrepresented small business owners with access to the digital tools and funding they need to thrive. Over the next 10 years, Comcast has committed $1 billion to programs and partnerships that will reach an estimated 50 million people with the skills, opportunities, and resources they need to succeed in an increasingly digital world.

For more information or to apply (starting Oct. 1, 2021) for either the grant program or marketing and technology services visit