The world of a small business owner never stops changing. And with new challenges come new opportunities. For any business owner looking for strategies for growth and efficiency or opportunities for support, there are many resources worth investigating. Comcast is committed to helping small to medium-sized businesses thrive in our changing world, and we’re not alone. Below are a few resources to help businesses end the year stronger and prepare for what’s ahead.
1. Comcast Is Here to Help
Comcast has a number of programs dedicated to helping businesses grow. Among them is Comcast RISE, a partnership between Comcast Business and Effectv. Comcast RISE, which stands for “Representation, Investment, Strength and Empowerment,” is a multi-year commitment to providing small businesses owned by people of color with the tools for success in marketing, creative, media, and technology. More than 4,700 Comcast RISE recipients have been announced so far, with a commitment to support 13,000 small businesses by the end of 2022.
As part of its Investment Fund initiative, Comcast RISE announced an additional $6 million in grants, bringing the total investment to $11 million to date. Grants are available to busi ness owners in Houston, Miami, Oakland, Seattle, the Twin Cities, and Washington, D.C, with a total of 100 grants per city. Eligible businesses may apply for a chance to receive a $10,000 grant, which will be awarded in November. Qualifying businesses can apply at www.ComcastRISE.com/apply/ between October 1-14th.
In addition to the Comcast RISE Investment Fund, Comcast RISE provides the opportunity for small businesses owned by people of color nationwide to apply for marketing and technology resources from Comcast Business and Effectv. This includes media, creative production of a 30-second TV commercial, consulting and technology makeovers, as well as access to Ureeka, an online platform for entrepreneurs with a specialized online networking community with educational resources, sources of capital, and vetted experts.
More information on Comcast RISE can be found here.
In line with Comcast’s dedication to equity, Comcast also is working to ensure underserved businesses have access to the capital they need to thrive. Earlier this summer, Comcast announced a $10 million investment towards building equity in credit unions led by and/or serving people of color through Inclusiv’s Racial Equity and Resilience Investment Fund. To find a participating Community Development Credit Union (CDCU) near you, visit Inclusiv’s membership directory.
Finally, the Comcast Business Community page is a solid resource for small business owners who want to learn more about technology solutions that can make their business more agile and streamlined. From remote-work tips to cybersecurity advice, the Community page has all the technological expertise businesses need to stay a step ahead in our hyper-connected world.
2. The Small Business Administration
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has been at the forefront of the federal response to the pandemic’s economic impact on small businesses.
Although the Paycheck Protection Program ended on May 31st of this year, the SBA is still offering COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) to support the recovery of small businesses. These are low-interest, fixed-rate, long-term loans of up to $2 million to help businesses meet operating expenses such as payroll, rent/mortgage, and utilities. More information can be found here.
Some EIDL applicants may be eligible for up to $15,000 in funding that does not need to be repaid. These advances are available to businesses in low-income communities with fewer than 300 employees who can demonstrate a 30% reduction in revenue. To find out if you are eligible, check out the SBA’s EIDL advance program page.
Aside from funding, the SBA has many resources available to help entrepreneurs plan, launch, manage, and grow their businesses. These include tips for creating a business plan, finding insurance plans, applying for licenses and permits, and expanding to new locations. No matter what stage your business is in, the SBA likely has resources that can help you get to the next stage.
3. Your Local Chamber of Commerce
Chambers of Commerce mirror the work of the SBA by providing businesses with guidance and support at the state and local level. Every Chamber of Commerce is different, but they’re worth checking out for programs, initiatives, and networking opportunities within your community.
As an example, consider the Chamber of Commerce in Comcast’s hometown: The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia.
The Chamber has a page dedicated to providing local businesses with information on loans, grants, and other programs to help businesses recover from the pandemic. In addition to linking to resources from the SBA and US Treasury, the page includes assistance programs specific to Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and local counties. There are also links to local job boards to help businesses find local talent, as well as CDC guidance for workplace safety in the pandemic.
The Chamber also coordinates events, including webinars, exhibitions, networking events, and professional development events. These events are a great way to connect with local business partners and learn from other professionals that have been navigating the same business environment.
Businesses have been put to the test over the last 18 months. But through good times and bad, there are always resources available to help small businesses meet their goals.