Multicultural News

Comcast Rise initiative accepting 2nd round of minority grant applications

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — More financial relief is available for minority business owners. Comcast Rise is finishing up its second round of grants and there’s still time left to apply.

Many businesses — if they managed to stay open during the shutdown — are still struggling. And while the pandemic impacted everyone, Black, indigenous and other people of color felt the impact a little bit more. That along with a continued push for social and economic equity is why Comcast is stepping up to help again.

Sweatboxx Wellness Center owners got the keys to their location at 16th Street and North Post Road on March 7, 2020. A few days later, they would face an unexpected challenge.

“So we hadn’t even moved our equipment in and things like that,” said co-owner Suzette Sweatt.

A global pandemic forced businesses around the state and county to close. Sweatt and her husband had to come up with a plan, but getting there took some time.

“For the first few weeks, it was a pity party. It was a crying party, but then we were like, ‘You have to get back out there and figure things out.’ So we had to pivot very quickly.”

Loans helped, but so did the grant money from the Comcast Rise initiative created last year to help Black, indigenous and other people of color who own small businesses.

“Part of the program isn’t just here’s a check. We hope that you do well with it. It’s marketing services and branding. We help with web design,” said Comcast public relations representatives Mike Wilson. “There’s all kinds of features and functions outside of just writing a check.”

Between February and April 2020, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, 41% of Black, 35% of Latino, and 25% of Asian-owned businesses went under. That’s compared to 21% of businesses owned by the “general population.”

“The disparity is real, and it’s something that we want to address,” said Wilson.

Sweatt said they’ve made changes to some of their business models to keep going. And while there is some financial relief, she’s hopeful we’ll get back to some level of normalcy.

Sweatt said it’s important to not get discouraged. She applied a few times before she was awarded a grant.

The deadline to apply is May 7.