Digital equity program extends to women-owned businesses

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Comcast RISE provided more than $60 million in grants, marketing and technology services to more than 6,700 U.S. small businesses since its inception in November 2021. Courtesy Comcast

Comcast is encouraging women-owned small businesses to apply for resources offered through its RISE initiative.

Comcast RISE, a program offering digital aid, marketing, consulting and funding to underrepresented small business owners, has extended its support efforts to include female business owners.

The RISE program — which stands for representation, investment, strength and empowerment — also is open to racially and ethnically diverse small business owners.

The program, which celebrated its one-year anniversary in November 2021, provided more than $60 million in grants, marketing and technology services to more than 6,700 U.S. small businesses owned by people of color, including Black-, Indigenous-, Hispanic- and Asian American-owned businesses.

Of those RISE recipients, nearly 70% identified as women of color, spurring Comcast to expand the program.

“As we continue to rebuild and emerge from the pandemic’s impact, small businesses across Michigan remain critical to our local economy,” said Brad Gramlin, Michigan director of enterprise sales, Comcast. “Expanding Comcast RISE to women-owned small businesses reinforces our company’s commitment to empower and strengthen even more Michigan companies that are the heart of our local communities across the state.”

A study by the National Association of Women Business Owners showed 42% of businesses in the U.S. are owned by women, with more than 1,800 new endeavors being started each day, nearly five times the national average. The same study, however, showed women-owned businesses are growing at only half the rate of those run by men, namely because women struggle to access capital and other resources to help them succeed.

Local recipients of Comcast RISE awards in 2021 include Applause Catering + Events, Motu Viget Spirits, JoJo’s Hair Essence and Women’s Health Collective.

Comcast has committed $1 billion over the next 10 years to programs like Comcast RISE and partnerships that aim to reach an estimated 50 million people with the skills and resources they need to succeed in an increasingly digital world.

More information and applications are at comcastrise.com.

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