RENTON, Wash. — Comcast is giving away $10,000 grants to 100 minority-owned businesses in King and Pierce counties as a way to help them navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It's part of an investment fund from Comcast RISE, which stands for "Representation, Investment, Strength and Empowerment."
The company has helped more than 4,000 businesses across the country owned by people of color, providing them with grants, marketing services and technology makeovers.
"Sometimes these businesses want to get going again, but they need funds, they need liquid cash, quite honestly, just to be able to go back out and buy supplies again and open their food trucks, open their restaurants, or whatever it might be," explained Dave Manapat, marketing director for Comcast Business.
Small businesses have been hit hard during the pandemic, but minority-owned businesses have been disproportionately impacted.
"So, for example, roughly 21% of businesses, small businesses, have been impacted, but it's almost doubled for African American owned businesses, and about 30% of Latin X and about 25% of Asian businesses,” said Manapat.
Ruffhouse Renton, a martial arts studio, was awarded a technology makeover earlier this year, which included new security cameras and new iPads so they can easily take attendance, check-in students and communicate between classrooms.
"Because of all the regulations and restrictions, things like taking attendance is 10 times more important now to see who's in there every day, every night, every class," explained Courtney Anaya, owner of Ruffhouse.
Helping the Renton martial arts studio run more smoothly allows the owners to focus on what they do best - teaching their students at a time when people need a boost to their mental and physical health. The gym has become a vital part of helping people during the pandemic.
"People who are not going to work anymore and are still remote, they really have no other social life than co-workers and work," said Anaya. "People realize you gotta take care of yourself physically."
Applications are being accepted through October 14. To be eligible, a business has to be more than three years old and have no more than 25 employees.