Tuesday, August 9, 2022
Aug. 9, 2022

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Comcast program helps businesses stay connected

Customized awards offer ‘steroid boost’ during pandemic

By , Columbian staff writer

Comcast RISE was created after the onset of the pandemic to help minority small businesses that were impacted by the pandemic and coinciding social unrest.

“The company created this program to help alleviate some of the challenges that these small businesses were facing,” said Amy Keiter, director of external communications at Comcast Oregon/Southwest Washington, adding that the program is part of a $1 billion commitment to advance digital equity.

The program, which launched about a year ago, provides customized awards to businesses that could include business services, technology or phone services.

Quandrae Gentle — who co-owns Boss Nailz with his wife, Genny Gentle — was one of the award recipients. The company, located at 2700 N.E. Andresen Road in Vancouver, received two tablets, a laptop and internet services.

“Comcast RISE was a steroid boost to our company during a hard time,” said Gentle.

The internet has been useful for clients coming in with their own devices, as well as for the shop’s devices. The tablets have helped the staff conduct inventory checks, create marketing content and take in new clients. Gentle said the laptop has helped the company with meetings and with organizing finances.

More than 50 businesses in Oregon and Southwest Washington received awards from Comcast RISE; that number was in the thousands across the country.

Last fall, Comcast opened the Comcast RISE program up to minority- and women-owned small businesses.

“I think anything that we can do to help these small businesses — for example, a year’s free business services — it’s a real boon to their business when they’re facing these kinds of financial challenges and pressures,” Keiter said.

Keiter encouraged all owners of minority- and women-owned small businesses to apply for the program.

Comcast is not requiring applicants to be customers but is requiring them to be located in the company’s service territory.

Those interested can apply by June 17 at comcastrise.com.

This article was corrected to show that applicants are required to be in Comcast’s service territory.

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