Comcast announced Tuesday that it has awarded $1 million in grants to 100 small minority-owned businesses in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties, through the Comcast RISE Investment Fund.
The recipients were chosen from among thousands of small businesses in South Florida owned by people of color, including Black, Hispanic, Asian American and Indigenous owners, among others, that applied for the $10,000 grants in early October.
The 100 South Florida’s Comcast RISE Investment Fund grant recipients include companies from every industry, from accounting, human resources and IT consulting firms to restaurants and caterings companies to health and wellness businesses and more.
After 10 years working in the apparel industry, grant recipient Jackie Michel left her job as a technical designer to start her own lingerie and loungewear company, Bare Reverie, in Miramar in October. She also specializes in alterations and teaching one-on-one sewing classes.
“Everything was going well for those first six months from October until March 2020 – then everything changed so drastically because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Plans I had for growing my business, including traveling to trade shows or hosting in-person events and sewing workshops, were no longer an option,” Michel said. “Ultimately, I was able to adjust and adapt my plans and operations. Surprisingly, the alterations part of my businesses ended up growing because of the pandemic! Many people who were stuck at home finally got around to cleaning out their closets and found items bought before the pandemic they’d forgotten about and brought them to me to be properly fit and tailored.”
Michel plans to use the RISE grant money toward manufacturing resources and purchasing office space in South Florida.
Since launching in October 2020, Comcast RISE is celebrating its first anniversary as a multi-year, multi-faceted initiative to support small businesses by providing resources and support as many continue to deal with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Investment Fund is an extension of Comcast RISE and to date, has already awarded $11 million in grants. Comcast RISE stands for "Representation, Investment, Strength, and Empowerment."
Grant recipients also receive a complimentary 12-month membership to the coaching program from Ureeka, an online platform for entrepreneurs, to help them build skills and strengthen their company’s foundation to gain more customers and become financially stable.
"Small business is truly the backbone of our economy, so we must take deliberate action to help them thrive," said Rich Rollins, Vice President of Business Services for Comcast's Florida Region. "Looking forward, because of how the program is structured, Comcast RISE is expanding to help even more entrepreneurs, further empowering and strengthening small businesses that are the heart and soul of our communities across Florida and and country."
In recognition of the program’s first anniversary, Comcast also announced Tuesday the expansion of eligibility for RISE to include all woman-owned businesses within the company’s service footprint across the country.
Comcast revealed that 191 Florida small businesses were selected to receive Marketing & Technology Services through the Comcast RISE program for this round.
These recipients will receive local broadcast advertisements for 90 days in partnership with EffecTV, Comcast’s advertising sales division, the production of a 30-second TV commercial to be run on local broadcast stations for 90 days and a technology makeover from Comcast Business.
Applications for the next round of Comcast RISE Marketing & Technology Services awards are being accepted online through January 15, 2022.
For more information, including complete program rules and eligibility requirements, click here.
Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal which owns NBC 6.