Multicultural News

Grant expands access for women entrepreneurs

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Millions of dollars are up for grabs as the Comcast RISE initiative expands. In part, it’ll broaden efforts to improve digital equity and funding for underrepresented small business owners.

The initial round of grants were open to minority business owners, but Comcast later decided to open it up to women from all backgrounds with a hope that it’ll help tear down barriers when it comes to access to capital.

The pandemic almost ended Alicia Orr’s business. For two years she’d been building momentum and clientele when, suddenly, panic set in.

“I was just getting things rolling in and everything felt like it was falling apart. So when my bills started to pile up because clientele decreased, I didn’t know what I was going to do,” she said.

She’s one of the 6,700 small businesses around the country able to stay afloat with help from the grant. Orr’s business, Organize Real Results, initially provided payroll and HR support, but shifted to include things like job training and placement.

“It worked for me because our ultimate goal when we started Organize Real Results was to work with the whole person — so we don’t want to just focus on one area,” she said.

Mike Wilson, a public relations officer with Comcast, said they were happy to open the grant up to all women business owners.

“There is lots of great data to out there that would show you that about 42% of new businesses are started by women,” he said.

Even with business growth, data from the National Association of Women Business Owners shows that women’s businesses only grow at half the rate of white men’s businesses.

Orr said keeping the business alive isn’t just for her.

“It’s the representation for a younger generation that needs to see this,” she said.

Applications for the Comcast RISE grants open in six weeks.