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Comcast RISE grants to elevate small businesses in Houston, Texas

Applications are now being accepted for Comcast RISE grants, to be awarded to 100 small businesses in the Houston, Texas metro area. The application process is open through May 31.


In addition to receiving a $5000 grant, the 100 winners will each receive business coaching, consulting and educational services, a technology makeover with Comcast Business and a 30 second commercial.


Anthony Scott, owner of Georgia’s Catfish Kitchen in Humble Tx., is eager to apply.


Seven years after opening the doors of his franchise restaurant, Scott, 54, still finds it a thrill to be his own boss in a family business. He works alongside his wife Audrey, brother-in-law Anthony Terrell and nephew Jalel Jones, cooking and serving fried and grilled fish, oysters, jambalaya and other Cajun specialties.


“After being an employee for many years, there’s freedom when you set your own schedule. Being an entrepreneur, you win or lose by your own efforts,” Scott said. “I’m betting on me.”


Comcast RISE grants are meant to cultivate small businesses and promote entrepreneurship. Houston is one of just five American cities selected by Comcast for RISE grants right now. 


“I think it's because Houston is one of the most diverse, if not the most diverse city in the country,” said Foti Kallergis, Comcast senior director. “Comcast understands that entrepreneurship is really the fabric of our local economy. Small businesses are what have made America the economic engine that it is.”


Applying for the Comcast RISE grant is not time-consuming; most businesses complete the process in under an hour. The application asks business owners to explain how they would use the grant to elevate their operations and support the community.


“Maybe you buy your raw materials at other local small businesses; maybe you keep it in your neighborhood, with your friends or family. Or maybe when you make a profit at your business, you give a little bit back to a community partner or nonprofit in your community,” said Ilona Carson, Comcast manager. “Share those stories. That's what we're looking for.”


Jeremy Fontenot already knows how he would use the money if his Comcast RISE grant application would prove to be a winner.


Fontenot owns Park Place 249 in northwest Houston, a restaurant that he founded to fill the hangout niche that he was looking for.


“I wanted a fun place, a lounge environment for adults, that place where I could go after work where everybody knows your name,” Fontenot said. “And great food and drinks, of course.”


Fontenot employs about 50 workers to cook and serve the Fatburgers and fried boudin links and pour the Lemon Drops and other signature cocktails. He wants to invest in them to offer his team more support.


“I would find ways to give back to my employees to make their life easier. I hire a lot of people without cars. An Uber ride to get to work might be $25; maybe I could offset that transportation cost,” he said. “And helping them helps me.


The application period for the Comcast RISE grants opened May 1 and will close on May 31. The one hundred awardees will be announced at the end of this summer.


Houston small business owners can go to to apply.


“We want to help with all parts of their business,” said Carson. “You got through COVID-19; you’ve been through so much. Now it's time to grow. Now it's time to thrive.”



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