Comcast RISE is an initiative created to help strengthen and empower small businesses hard hit by COVID-19. The first phase of Comcast RISE awarded grants to small businesses in 285 cities in 29 states, and 43 of those small business owners were from Houston, Texas.
Houston RISE recipient, Angelus McFarlane, found out about Comcast RISE by searching for grants on the web. McFarlane recalls staying up late to find ways to help recover from the effects of COVID and grow his martial arts business.
“COVID-19 made the tough year of 2020. As a small business what hurt most was being deemed non-essential and having to close our doors,” said Angelus McFarlane, owner and head instructor of Ravlin Martial Arts. “I’m extremely excited that a business like Comcast has taken an interest to support small businesses. I believe that the technology grant from Comcast will help us, which will then bring more people back and help us grow.”
U.S. small businesses have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic. A recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that the number of U.S. active business owners dropped from 15 million to 11.7 million from February to April. The study cited that Black-owned small businesses were hardest hit, suffering the steepest decline (41 percent), followed by Hispanic and Asian American-owned small businesses.
“We all know with COVID, so many businesses – especially home health care – it was fear of the unknown. We had so many of our caregivers to be exposed and couldn’t work,” said Tomeka McKinney, owner of Nurturing Companions. “I can’t express how grateful I am for Comcast RISE, and I think they should continue supporting and giving back during this time – it means so much.”
Tomeka McKinney has worked in the home health care business with seniors for 20 years and was devastated when her company couldn’t provide comfort and care for clients due to COVID.
Comcast RISE is part of a larger $100 million Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative that Comcast launched in the summer of 2020. In June, Comcast NBCUniversal announced the development of a comprehensive, multiyear plan to allocate $75 million in cash and $25 million in media over the next three years to fight injustice and inequality against any race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, or ability.
Congratulations to the first round of Comcast Rise Houston Recipients.
If you are interested in learning more visit www.comcastrise.com. Recipients will be chosen quarterly.