While the pandemic has presented economic challenges for everyone, BIPOC-owned (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) small businesses have borne the brunt.
Nationally, the number of active business owners in the United States fell by 22 percent from February to April 2020. But a demographic breakdown paints an even bleaker picture: for Black-owned businesses, the drop was nearly double, at 41 percent. Other minority business owners experienced similar worse-than-average losses, including immigrants (a 36 percent drop), Latinx (32 percent) and Asian (26 percent) business owners.
The pandemic did not create these issues, but it has exacerbated the inequities. In order to dig out of this economic hole, businesses will need myriad kinds of assistance.
Every little bit—streamlining operations, getting the word out to new customers, improving connectivity for business owners in areas where digital equity is a challenge—can make a big difference.
That is why the Comcast RISE initiative was launched in October to help BIPOC-owned small businesses navigate the challenges of the pandemic. RISE stands for Representation, Investment, Strength and Empowerment.
Through this initiative, businesses nationwide, including many in Connecticut, have received support through free technology makeovers—including computer equipment, internet, voice and cybersecurity—from Comcast Business, or free media campaigns, creative production or consulting services from Effectv. All of this goes a long way toward achieving an equitable recovery.
Local Connecticut businesses can still apply for support through Comcast RISE at www.comcastrise.com. The latest round of applications is being accepted through July 31, 2021 and recipients are being announced on an ongoing basis.
Editor's Note: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal, NBC Connecticut and Telemundo Connecticut.