BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. – Keeping your business afloat and learning to quickly pivot during a pandemic is something many Northern California business owners are experiencing. National statistics indicate minority-owned firms across the country have been hit especially hard during this economic downturn. A nationwide effort is now underway by a nationwide company to help.
For those visiting Cha Cha’s Dog Daycare in the Sacramento area, at first glance it might look like all fun and games, with dogs of all sizes, shapes and breeds playing together; having fun and staff having an equal amount of enjoyment. The pet-sitting service has been in business for more than 20 years, but this year under the pandemic, business has been slow.
Action News Now Morning Anchor Julia Yarbough talked with Owner Desalene Jones via Zoom, about the impacts she has experienced as a result of the pandemic.
She says with more people staying at home this year, the need for off-site dog daycare dropped. Her business took a hit. But, she says she got creative and increased service offerings towards grooming and bathing.
“People were at home and they realized their dog was a dog and sometimes those dogs, well, they smell like a dog,” explains Jones. “So we worked harder to take care of that, and it has been working out okay.”
Jones says the downturn in business was also an opportunity to spend more time researching programs and resources available to help small business owners. She found the Comcast RISE program and applied. Her business has been selected as one of 36 California minority-owned businesses that are now getting a boost from the program; one of hundreds across the country.
Comcast Communications Manager Adriana Arvizo describes Comcast RISE as a social and economic driven program which stands for representation, investment, strength and empowerment.
The program is set to be in place for several years, to assist minority-owned businesses to survive during the pandemic and beyond.
This business segment is part of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative, identifying $75-million in cash and $25-million in media in the next three years. The goal is to raise awareness and combat inequities in race, gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation in the ability to thrive and excel in the business realm.
Arvizo says many small business owners do not always have budgets for upgrading technology and advertising or the resources to take their operations to the next level. Four Sacramento-area businesses have been selected as awardees for the program.
Jones says she hopes other national firms will see the approach Comcast is taking in addressing social inequity within business and develop similar programs. She calls it a way to take action; not just talk about making change.
She says she also hopes that as a national company, Comcast leaders will be able to learn from the many small businesses, that Comcast teams will now be working with.
Jones says the program is enabling her company to take a step that until now, she has not had the budget for.
“They are going to come alongside and create a professional commercial. That is something that on my own would not be happening,” says Jones. “That door has always been closed to me in the past.”
Some of the services offered under the Comcast RISE program include consulting, help with media, production efforts and technology make-overs.