By Rachel Smith
President & CEO, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
We’re excited to partner with Comcast again on a grant program focused on maintaining a diverse, inclusive small businesses community – especially over the past few years, which have brought unprecedented challenges. Eighty percent of our members are small businesses with 100 employees or fewer – and we know that small business owners who weathered the COVID-19 pandemic survived only to face growing costs related to inflation and interruptions to the global supply chain.
In fact, a 2022 survey found nearly all small businesses (97%) are concerned about inflation, and rising costs are the most significant threats small businesses currently face. Boosting revenue from online sales has become the No. 1 priority for small businesses. That’s why the Seattle Metro Chamber is a proud partner of the Comcast RISE grant program, which will provide $1 million to small businesses owned by women and people of color in King and Pierce counties this fall.
We’ve already seen how these technology and marketing grants can help businesses thrive. As recently reported, microbusinesses and small businesses play an essential role in the economy, collectively employing 41 million people with an economic impact of $5 trillion in the U.S. Here in Washington, small businesses make up 99.5% of all companies in our state.
Last year, Comcast RISE grants were awarded to 100 business owners of color in our area. That money has provided technology upgrades, new systems, and marketing services to help owners be more efficient and agile in their work. When we give small business owners the tools they need to survive and thrive, we make an enormous impact that all aspects of the economy can feel.
Comcast RISE stands for “representation, investment, strength, and empowerment,” which are critical components of the Chamber’s continuing mission to help our members thrive in a competitive, equitable, and inclusive regional economy. We’ve implemented this mission through Endeavor Northwest, an accelerator program to connect businesses of color to market opportunities and to prepare them for growth. Through these efforts and our support of Comcast RISE, we believe the economic divide that negatively affects diverse-owned small businesses can be bridged.
The next round of Comcast RISE grant applications opens on October 3, 2022. We encourage small businesses owned by women and people of color to apply. If you know a small business owner who is eligible, show your support by sharing this article with them.
For more information or to fill out an application, go to www.comcastrise.com/rise-apply.