Neighborhood Allies helps Pittsburgh small businesses access $1 million in funding from Comcast RISE

Jun 23, 2022

From June 1st to June 14th, applications were open for Pittsburgh area women and minority-owned small businesses to apply for $10,000 business grants from the Comcast RISE Investment Fund. Neighborhood Allies is one of 3 local organizations chosen by Comcast to conduct outreach and provide technical assistance to our vibrant network of small business owners.

On May 12th, Comcast announced that it would be awarding $1 million in grants to 100 small businesses owned by women and people of color, including Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, and Asian American owners, among others, in Allegheny County.

Between May 12th and June 1st, Neighborhood Allies reached thousands of people with the news. We shared the opportunity through our social media platforms, e-newsletter, and curated email lists, consisting of small business owners in our Get Online and Grow Online (GOGO) program, partners who serve small businesses, and participants of our ‘Money Talks’ program (which, as part of our Economic Opportunity Portfolio, serves as a space for Black women in Pittsburgh to learn about saving, investing, and financial planning.) We spread the word across our networks, and by June 1st, we were prepared to assist with the application process.

Over the course of 2 weeks, we held six in-person workshops across the city, where we offered hands-on, one-on-one application assistance. Each workshop, hosted at local women and minority-owned small businesses as another avenue of support, offered step-by-step guidance from registration through final submission. In addition, our partners at First Sip Studios offered FREE headshots, product photography, and social media and business consults to attendees. A GOGO participant themselves in 2020, First Sip now offers their own small business development program and digital media content creation services.

Additionally, our trusted financial counselors from the Pittsburgh Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) attended the workshops to help business apply and promote Small Business Boost, which connects small business owners and entrepreneurs to one-on-one financial counseling at the FEC.

“We wanted the small businesses who attended our workshops to gain as much value as possible while they were there. By offering free services through First Sip Studios, and promoting other resources we have for small businesses, we ensured everyone left with new knowledge, new resources, or new connections.”

Demi Kolke, Senior Program Manager for Corridor Revitalization

117 small business owners attended our workshops, and dozens more reached out individually. We are proud to have helped business owners access this opportunity, and make so many new connections, too.

Grant announcements from Comcast will be coming in late summer. Stay tuned!

Top Header Image Photo Credit: Prototyping Larimer Stories by artist John Peña, photo by OPA